In the coming days or weeks, the Big Ten should start announcing some kickoff times and television broadcasts for the upcoming 2023 football season. This season will be the Big Ten’s first without ABC or ESPN, as those rights are now being split by CBS, Fox and NBC. Fox is planning to transition their “Big Noon” game into “B1G Noon”, while NBC will have a weekly Saturday night Big Ten game to counteract ABC’s Saturday night broadcasts. CBS is the odd member of this arrangement in 2023, as it’s the final year of their contract for late afternoon SEC games.
For 2023, CBS will only carry seven Big Ten games that will be scheduled around their legacy SEC commitment. That legacy contract doesn’t include the first two weeks of the season, as CBS still had the rights to the US Open tennis tournament in early September when the CBS/SEC deal was originally signed. I expect CBS and Fox to swap 11 am rights a couple of times, as Fox still has the rights to show Big XII games in the early window in 2023.
I also expect CBS to utilize other non-Saturday timeslots when available, which should be of interest to Husker fans since Nebraska will have two Friday games and a Thursday night season opener.
NBC’s Peacock streaming service will also have eight games this season. You may as well plan to subscribe at some point, because Peacock will be picking up many of the basketball games that ESPN used to carry on their platforms.
So I’ve taken the composite Big Ten football schedule and penciled in which games appear to be destined for specific networks. I’ve presumed that BTN will continue to pick up the games that the other networks don’t want. And everything is subject to change if a presumed marquee team starts trying to match Nebraska’s futility on the field...or if another team goes on a 2020-style Indiana run.
Reminder: THIS IS ONLY A PREDICTION. If Fox decides to put Wagner/Rutgers on Big Noon, that’s on them. Don’t use this list in the fall to plan your Saturday!!!
Week 1: Aug. 31/Sept. 2
I’m calling my shot here: The Huskers’ season opener against Minnesota will be on an over-the-air television network. The other major Thursday night college football game is Florida at Utah, which will end up on ABC, ESPN or Fox, and I think Fox takes the Pac-12/SEC battle. That leaves CBS to fill one of their seven games allotment with the Huskers.
CBS: Nebraska at Minnesota (Thursday, Aug. 31); if not CBS, then Fox.
CBS/Fox: Ohio State at Indiana, Northwestern at Rutgers
NBC: West Virginia at Penn State (already confirmed)
TBD: Toledo at Illinois, Utah State at Iowa, Towson at Maryland, East Carolina at Michigan, Central Michigan at Michigan State, Fresno State at Purdue, Buffalo at Wisconsin
Week 2: Sept. 9
What a craptastic schedule for the Big Ten’s television partners; all the interesting matchups are on the road. And CBS gets it’s second and final Saturday 2:30 slot this week.
With Texas at Alabama and Texas A&M at Miami-FL on the schedule, don’t look for “Gameday” to be in Boulder, and NU/CU probably ends up on ESPN2 or FS1, perhaps as a Pac-12 after dark game.
CBS/Fox/NBC: UNLV at Michigan, Youngstown State at Ohio State
TBD: Indiana State at Indiana, Charlotte at Maryland, Richmond at Michigan State, Eastern Michigan at Minnesota, UTEP at Northwestern, Delaware at Penn State, Temple at Rutgers
Big XII rights: Illinois at Kansas, Iowa at Iowa State
Pac-12 rights: Nebraska at Colorado, Wisconsin at Washington State
ACC rights: Purdue at Virginia Tech
Week 3: Sept. 16
I don’t know whether the Indiana/Louisville game will fall under the Big Ten or ACC’s media rights; it’s a neutral site game in Indianapolis. So I’m including it on the list for a major network.
Fox/NBC: Indiana vs. Louisville (?), Washington at Michigan State, Virginia at Maryland
FS1 / Peacock: Penn State at Illinois, Syracuse at Purdue
BTN: Western Michigan at Iowa, Bowling Green at Michigan, Northern Illinois at Nebraska, Western Kentucky at Ohio State, Virginia Tech at Rutgers, Georgia Southern at Wisconsin
ACC rights: Northwestern at Duke
Week 4: Sept. 23
Fox/NBC: Iowa at Penn State, Maryland at Michigan State
TBD: Rutgers at Michigan, Minnesota at Northwestern, Wisconsin at Purdue
BTN: Florida Atlantic at Illinois, Akron at Indiana, Louisiana Tech at Nebraska
NBC (Notre Dame rights): Ohio State at Notre Dame
Week 5: Sept. 30
Fox/NBC: Michigan State at Iowa, Michigan at Nebraska
TBD: Illinois at Purdue, Indiana at Maryland, Penn State at Northwestern
BTN: Louisiana at Minnesota, Wagner at Rutgers
Week 6: Oct. 6/7
There’s a reason why the Huskers game moved to Friday night, and that makes another opportunity for CBS to get a game in. I could also see Fox picking Oklahoma/Texas for their 11 am game, moving their Big Ten game to the late afternoon slot, which in turn opens up the 11 am slot for CBS to get a game in.
CBS/FS1: Nebraska at Illinois (Friday, Oct. 6)
Fox/CBS/NBC: Purdue at Iowa, Maryland at Ohio State, Michigan at Minnesota
TBD: Rutgers at Wisconsin
BTN: Howard at Northwestern
Week 7: Oct. 14
Fox/NBC: Iowa at Wisconsin
TBD: Illinois at Maryland, Indiana at Michigan, Michigan State at Rutgers, Ohio State at Purdue
BTN: UMass at Penn State
Week 8: Oct. 21
Fox/NBC: Michigan at Michigan State, Penn State at Ohio State
TBD: Wisconsin at Illinois, Rutgers at Indiana, Minnesota at Iowa, Northwestern at Nebraska
Week 9: Oct. 28
Fox/NBC: Ohio State at Wisconsin
TBD: Indiana at Penn State, Maryland at Northwestern, Michigan State at Minnesota, Purdue at Nebraska
Week 10: Nov. 4
Fox/NBC: Penn State at Maryland, Nebraska at Michigan State
TBD: Illinois at Minnesota, Wisconsin at Indiana, Iowa at Northwestern, Ohio State at Rutgers
Week 11: Nov. 11
The first two are no-brainers to be on the big networks:
Fox/NBC: Michigan at Penn State, Michigan State at Ohio State
TBD: Indiana at Illinois, Rutgers at Iowa, Maryland at Nebraska, Minnesota at Purdue, Northwestern at Wisconsin
Week 12: Nov. 18
I’m reaching this week, so I’m going to throw three games in the Fox/NBC bucket. Only two will get on the big networks.
Fox/NBC: Minnesota at Ohio State, Michigan at Maryland or Nebraska at Wisconsin
TBD: Illinois at Iowa, Michigan State at Indiana, Purdue at Northwestern, Rutgers at Penn State
Week 13: Nov. 24/25
When the new television contract was signed, CBS had committed to cover at least one Black Friday game each season. Well, guess who plays on Black Friday? So let’s put that one down…and also note that Fox gets the first pick of any Big Ten game this season, so guess what they are picking? Hint: It won’t be Maryland at Rutgers.
CBS: Iowa at Nebraska (Friday, Nov. 24)
Fox: Ohio State at Michigan
NBC: Penn State at Michigan State or Wisconsin at Minnesota
TBD: Northwestern at Illinois, Indiana at Purdue, Maryland at Rutgers
Week 14: Dec. 2
Fox: Big Ten Football Championship Game
Which broadcast would you like to see the Huskers on most often this season?
This poll is closed
CBS’ opening act to an SEC game
Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff
NBC’s Saturday Night Big Ten Football
I’m waiting for B1G After Dark in 2024; I’ll DVR it and watch it on Sunday.