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Nebraska, Big Ten Conference To Start Playing Friday Night Games In 2017

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Jim Delany made a change for the new TV contract, and he’s passing the savings on to the rest of the league.

Big Ten Championship Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Starting in the 2017 season, the Big Ten Conference will have six games on Friday nights, the conference office announced on Wednesday.

And, for those that like it or not, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are going to be one of those teams playing Friday night games.

There’s a lot of backlash on this idea on Twitter right now, and rightfully so. For a few reasons.

  • First off, you have the fact that season ticket holders would have to basically forgo a Friday at work to get to a game, or sell those tickets to someone willing to go. Which may not be a terrible thing to some if the game is planned far enough away, but will be a hindrance to several folks.
  • Then there’s the fact that the students will be out of class that day. Yes, there’s not a lot of kids that take Friday classes anymore. That being said, you’re asking to alter a lot of campus life for a gameday, never mind people that are front line workers such as ushers, hockers and parking staff.
  • And then you have the recruiting aspect, taking a game away from teams trying to get talent to visit. With high school football games being held on Fridays, you’re going to be at the mercy of bye weeks to get kids in. For a conference that’s having a renaissance when it comes to recruiting, it seems to be a shot in the foot.

The Big Ten will tell you that this is being done with the new ESPN/Fox contract to help keep the B1G in the national picture because all the other cool kids are doing it:

Friday night football has become more prevalent in recent years, as the ACC and Pac-12 have been Power Five conferences that have embraced it. This season alone there will be 65 Friday night games across the country, including the likes of Louisville at Syracuse, Stanford at Washington, USC at Utah and Oregon at Cal.

“We saw the need to have more windows because there are more games being televised nationally each week,” said Rudner. “If you look at other conferences like the Pac-12 and the ACC and even the Ivy League, they have had a clear presence on Friday night. In fact, over the last three years, each of those conferences has had double-digit games on Friday nights.”

This is definitely one of those things where just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Many folks talk about the quality of games in the middle of the week, where some teams are possibly coming off of short weeks to prepare for games. It’s cool if you’re working it into a bye week maybe, but even then, the non-player issues of getting folks into the stands may make it unworthwhile to you.

And then there’s this.

However, according to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune, maybe Nebraska won’t have to host any:

Delany said the league is reluctant to ask schools with giant seating capacities to host Friday night games, so don’t expect games to be played at Ohio State or Penn State.

And Michigan is flat-out saying no to Friday night games, both home and road. Delany said he believes the school simply prefers Saturday games for “consistency of presentation.”

Lord, we only hope that includes Lincoln.

UPDATE: Penn State aint having it