Nebraska football will have at least two football games in prime time next season, as ESPN/ABC announced Thursday it had selected the Huskers' Nov. 7 game against Michigan State for either a 6 or 7 p.m. start on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. The family of networks is broadcasting Minnesota at Ohio State on that same night.
NU's Sept. 12 home game vs. South Alabama is scheduled for BTN, which previously announced it would place the game in prime time. Another game to watch is the Huskers' Sept. 19 trip to Miami (Florida). The ACC owns the rights to that game.
The Big Ten has never exactly disallowed night conference games in November, but the league became more open to them last season.
ESPN announced seven total Big Ten games that would appear in prime time. They are:
Sept. 3 (Thursday): TCU at Minnesota
Sept. 12: Oregon at Michigan State
Oct. 17: Penn State at Ohio State
Oct. 24: Ohio State at Rutgers
Oct. 31: Michigan at Minnesota
Nov. 7: Michigan State at Nebraska; Minnesota at Ohio State
Previously, the Sept. 5 Alabama vs. Wisconsin game at AT&T (Cowboys) Stadium had been announced as part of ABC/ESPN's opening weekend package.
Some quick thoughts on scheduling:
>> A 55/60-degree November night for Nebraska football can be lovely. On Nov. 7, 2009, Nebraska beat Oklahoma 10-3 in 50-degree temps. Lovely. It can also be 30 degrees like it was for the Nov. 13 Nebraska-Kansas game in 2010. Don't presume that'll be a great recruiting night.
>> The Miami-Nebraska game sets up well for prime time, if it lands there, because the other marquee ACC games that week — Clemson and Louisville and Florida State at Boston College — are being played on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Notre Dame's not an option for the ACC because it's playing Georgia Tech at home. Pitt plays at Iowa. Virginia Tech, for some reason, scheduled a series with Purdue, and is playing in West Lafayette.
>> The Big Ten is currently slated to play two games on opening night, Sept. 3. I expect the league to lose both, Minnesota can have its greatest crowd ever and not have enough athletes to beat TCU, while Michigan is slated to travel to Utah. Whether the Wolverines-Utes stays on that night, I'm not sure, but I don't like Michigan to win it.
>> If there's any consolation to Alabama potentially pounding Wisconsin (perhaps with Braxton Miller in a Crimson Tide uniform) on opening weekend it would be this: Many more fans will be watching Texas lay an egg at Notre Dame.
>> The opening weekend could be ... rough for the Big Ten. I mean, man, like rough.
>> TCU will beat the Jerry Kills.
>> Utah beats Michigan.
>> 'Bama beats Badgers.
>> Stanford almost certainly beats Northwestern.
>> Ohio State plays at Virginia Tech on Labor Day. Of course it won't be easy. The Hokies beat the Buckeyes last year.
>> Nebraska will have its hands full with BYU.
>> Purdue plays at Marshall, which might as well be a pick 'em.
>> Penn State plays at Temple. OK, that's probably a Nittany Lion win.
>> Michigan State wins at Western Michigan, but WMU's pretty salty for a MAC team.
>> Illinois beats Kent State, I guess.
>> Iowa hosts Illinois State, a top-10 FCS team with a much better quarterback (Tre Roberson).
>> Rutgers beats Norfolk State, obviously.
>> Indiana beats Southern Illinois.
>> Maryland beats Richmond.
There's a potential — not likely, but possible — for a 7-7 opening weekend. Which would kill the Big Ten's vibe from the end of last season.