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Wisconsin to play Utah State on Friday night in 2017

The Badgers will get a sure-to-be-controversial Friday night game in 2017.

Utah State v Wisconsin Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images

The Big Ten Conference announced on Tuesday the six games that will be played on Friday nights in the 2017 season.

The Wisconsin Badgers will be one of the first conference teams to play in the new time slot, as they will open their 2017 season against the Utah State Aggies under the lights of Camp Randall Stadium on Sept. 1.

Rutgers will host Washington on that same night.

Here’s the full list of games, which will be televised on either ESPN or FOX:

  • Fri., Sept. 1: Washington at Rutgers
  • Fri., Sept. 1: Utah State at Wisconsin
  • Fri., Sept. 8: Ohio at Purdue
  • Fri., Sept. 29: Nebraska at Illinois
  • Fri., Oct. 13: Northwestern at Maryland
  • Fri., Oct. 27: Michigan State at Northwestern

Last week, after the conference announced the widely-debated Friday night schedule, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez released a statement. It falls in line with Tuesday’s announcement of the 2017 season-opening game:

“There has been a lot of dialogue within our conference about the feasibility of playing a very limited number of Friday night games. As a former high school and college coach, I have great respect for the tradition and importance of Friday night high school football in the state of Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest. As a conference, we felt it was the right time to explore additional opportunities for exposure on Friday nights on a limited basis.

“At Wisconsin, we are open to hosting games at Camp Randall on the Friday night prior to Labor Day weekend in selected years but have not committed to hosting Friday night games at any other time.”

Below are the key parts of the Friday night arrangement, as explained by the Big Ten:

As a result of the Conference’s new television agreements, every Big Ten football game over the next six years will be nationally televised by ABC/ESPN, FOX or BTN. Of the approximately 600 games scheduled to be broadcast by our television partners in the next six years, 36 games (six per year) will occur on Friday night. While not all institutions are able to participate in Friday night matchups, all 14 institutions will participate in the broad initiative to provide more primetime exposure on national platforms.

The Big Ten Conference appreciates the significance of high school football within the region and has worked to minimize the impact of this initiative by limiting the number of Friday night games. Overall, these games represent approximately six percent of Big Ten home games annually, and no institution will host more than one game in any given year. Friday night games will also be announced at least 10 months in advance to provide all parties adequate time to prepare.