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Badgers set to play four prime time games on ESPN family of networks

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For Badger fans who think the UW football program deserves more exposure, you're in luck.

ESPN released its eight selected Big Ten games to air in prime time this fall and the Badgers are involved in four of them.

It all starts in the season opener Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. CT when Wisconsin will host UNLV on ESPN. It will mark the first time Wisconsin has hosted a Thursday night game on ESPN since 2000 when it hosted Western Michigan.

Exactly a month later, Wisconsin will host Nebraska Oct. 1 in the Cornhuskers first ever Big Ten game. The game will kickoff at 7 p.m. CT and appear on either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

Later that month, on Oct. 22, the Badgers will travel to Michigan State where they suffered their only regular season loss of 2010. That game will also kickoff at 7 p.m. and appear on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

The following week, on Oct. 29, Wisconsin will travel to Ohio State and once again be featured in prime time. Likewise, the game will kickoff at 7 p.m. and appear on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

"This is another great compliment to our program and a testament to what we have been able to accomplish on the field as well as the tremendous fan support we receive," head coach Bret Bielema said on UWBadgers.com. "This is great exposure on the national landscape not only for the football program but also the athletic department and the university. I know our fans love late kickoffs because it allows them to enjoy the day and we have a tradition of success in night games that we hope to continue this season."

Bielema is onto something. In addition to the exposure, this is also a schedule advantage for Wisconsin. The Badgers generally play better at night and are 26-3 in their last 29 night games.

The other Big Ten games set to appear on the ESPN family of networks in primetime include Notre Dame at Michigan (Sept. 10), Notre Dame at Purdue (Oct. 1) and Ohio State at Nebraska (Oct. 8).