BTN released their schedule of prime-time B1G conference football broadcasts, which feature two appearances by Nebraska:
Saturday, September 13th:
7:00PM CT: Penn State @ Rutgers.
Saturday, September 27th:
5:00PM CT: Cincinnati @ Ohio State.
8:00PM CT: Illinois @ Nebraska
Saturday, October 4th:
5:00PM CT: Michigan @ Rutgers
Saturday, October 18th:
6:30PM CT: Nebraska @ Northwestern
Saturday, November 15th:
7:00PM CT: Michigan State @ Maryland
That's right, Nebraska now has at least five evening or nighttime football games scheduled for the 2014 football season. The five announced games are consecutive, starting with the September 13 game at Fresno State:
Saturday, September 13 at Fresno State CBS Sports Network, 9:30 pm central time
Saturday, September 20 Miami ABC/ESPN, 7 pm central time
Saturday, September 27 Illinois BTN, 8 pm central time
Saturday, October 4 Michigan State ABC/ESPN, 7 pm central time
Saturday, October 18 Northwestern BTN, 6:30 pm central time
BTN has not announced their television plans for the non-conference schedule (other than the Cincinnati/Ohio State game), so I suspect their are additional games headed to prime-time the first four weeks of the season. (I hardly think BTN is going to squeeze in 10 football games into the morning and afternoon timeslots on opening weekend.)
I think Nebraska's season opener against Florida Atlantic is likely to be an evening kickoff. McNeese State may not, now that Nebraska has five other primetime time slots, assuming that other schools covet those time slots as well.
I like prime time games in the first half of the season, and especially to start the season when it's still officially summertime. As the season goes on, I prefer the late afternoon 2:30 pm timeslot personally. And when it comes to November, I'd actually prefer 11 am over evening. It's interesting to note that the Big Ten has now scheduled a prime-time broadcast when Michigan State travels to Maryland on November 15. (I suspect that November is milder in Washington, D.C. than in most of the midwest...)
I understand the fascination of prime-time games: more time to tailgate typically means a better atmosphere. (Except, of course when it's too cold and people head to the bars at halftime. Or when it's really cold, and noise is muffled by mittens and scarves.) And when games don't start in the morning, it's possible for recruits to fly to Lincoln in the morning and experience the atmosphere. For the Northwestern game, a 6:30 kickoff makes it very easy for Husker fans to drive to Chicago for the game on Friday night and Saturday morning, and then drive back on Sunday, if they don't want to spend the money on airfare. (Can you say "Hus-Ker Home Game"?)
But the 8 pm kickoff for the Illinois game strikes me as rather unfriendly for the folks who'll actually be in Lincoln. I really think it's too late, personally. When Nebraska played Missouri in 2008 with a late night kickoff, many fans left early. Granted, the game was a blowout, but they left earlier than they otherwise would. It certainly wasn't enjoyable blogging after 2 am after that game, that's for sure.
And believe it or not, the players don't exactly enjoy playing that late. Kenny Bell has been rather outspoken about that on Twitter.
Not saying there should be no night games. However, not sleeping until 1 am after a game for six weeks in a row will be taxing. No question— Kenny Bell (@AFRO_THUNDER80) April 22, 2014
@JAlexander_UH no player likes waiting all day to play. Fans I can see why, drinking an fun all day. Yihoo for you. I sit in the hotel— Kenny Bell (@AFRO_THUNDER80) April 22, 2014
I not only see Bell's point, I agree with it. I don't understand why the Nebraska-Illinois game is an 8 pm kickoff. Granted, I'll have almost all day Saturday free, but it comes at the price of Sunday.
One thing with that 8 pm kickoff is that it actually could increase attendance at Saturday evening services. For that 2008 game, I actually went to my church's 5:00 Saturday evening mass in Omaha, then drove straight to Lincoln (other than a quick stop through the drive-thru for a hamburger) and got to Lincoln in plenty of time for kickoff. Traffic was so light at 6 pm, since most fans had driven in the afternoon. Best part is that, other than my daughter making noise the next morning, I got to sleep in.
But all things considered, I'd rather have a kickoff at 2:30 or 6 pm.s