ESPN issued its prime time Big Ten schedule of telecasts for the 2013 season on Monday. Not surprising is that the Ohio State Buckeyes, Division I’s sole unbeaten in 2012, is featured three times: Sept. 28 against the reigning three-time Big Ten champion Wisconsin Badgers; Oct. 5 at surprising 10-game winner Northwestern; and Oct. 26 against the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Penn State also faces Michigan in prime time on Oct. 12. The Wolverines open the prime time Big Ten slate on Sept. 7 against their rival Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Michigan’s last tussle with Notre Dame in the Big House was the first nighttime affair in the venerable venue’s illustrious history.
Auspiciously absent from the schedule are the defending Big Ten Legends division champion Nebraska Cornhuskers. Nebraska won 10 games in 2012, but dropped its final two to Wisconsin and Georgia. The Huskers’ Big Ten championship loss was a dud, but the exclusion is still rather surprising.
Nebraska should factor into the divisional race again this season. The Nebraska fan base is also among the more rabid in the conference, evident in a five-decade home sellout streak.
Each of the first two Legends winners were frozen out of the prime time broadcasts, as the 2011 champion Michigan State Spartans are also missing. MSU is coming off a disappointing 7-6 season, though Sparty’s campaign ended on a high note with a defeat of TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Below is the complete prime time Big Ten schedule on the ESPN networks:
Sept. 7: Notre Dame at Michigan, 8 p.m. ET / ABC or ESPN or ESPN2
Sept. 14: Notre Dame at Purdue, 8 p.m. ET / ABC or ESPN or ESPN2
Sept. 28: Wisconsin at Ohio State, 8 p.m. ET / ABC or ESPN or ESPN2
Oct. 5: Ohio State at Northwestern, 8 p.m. ET / ABC or ESPN or ESPN2
Oct. 12: Michigan at Penn State, 5 p.m. ET / ESPN or ESPN2
Oct. 26: Penn State at Ohio State, 8 p.m. ET / ABC or ESPN or ESPN2