Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
The Big Ten will have seven football games televised in prime time this fall by either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, and the Gophers will be part of three of them.
Ohio State also drew three prime time assignments on these networks, Michigan State drew two, and no other team in the conference had more than one. It's quite a leap for the Gophers, who had just one prime time game last year (on Big Ten Network) and played six consecutive games that started at 11 a.m.
With ESPN's official announcement Thursday of the Big Ten prime time schedule, coupled with last week's Big Ten Network prime time announcement, here the known details of the Gophers' four prime time games this fall:
Sept. 3 -- Gophers vs. TCU on ESPN, 8 p.m.
Oct. 31 -- Gophers vs. Michigan on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, 7 p.m.
Nov. 7 -- Gophers at Ohio State on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Nov. 14 -- Gophers at Iowa on BTN, time TBA
The other Big Ten prime time games on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 are as follows:
Sept. 12 -- Oregon at Michigan State, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 -- Penn State at Ohio State, 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 -- Ohio State at Rutgers, 7 p.m.
Nov. 7 -- Michigan State at Nebraska, 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.
The battle for the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy is going primetime.
The Gophers play at Iowa on Nov. 14, and that will be a night game televised on Big Ten Network, the network announced Monday. (Note: The specific start time wasn't announced.)
The Big Ten used to refrain from staging night games in November, but schools are embracing the trend, knowing that's when viewership is highest.
The ESPN/ABC assignments will be announced at a later time. Here is the full list of BTN primetime games this fall:
Sept. 12 -- South Alabama at Nebraska
Sept. 19 -- Rutgers at Penn State
Sept. 26 -- Hawaii at Wisconsin
Oct. 3 -- Michigan at Maryland
Oct. 10 -- Michigan State at Rutgers
Nov. 14 -- Minnesota at Iowa
The Gophers will have their sixth consecutive 11 a.m. kickoff next Saturday, when they play at Nebraska, in a game televised on ESPN.
The game time was announced late Saturday night. The Gophers (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten) are coming off a 31-24 loss to Ohio State, and Nebraska (8-2, 4-2) is coming off a 59-24 loss at Wisconsin.
Wisconsin (8-2, 5-1) sits alone atop the Big Ten West division and plays at Iowa this week. But if the Gophers win their next two games -- at Nebraska, then at Wisconsin -- they could still win the division title. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head records.
Next Saturday's game between the Gophers and Ohio State at TCF Bank Stadium will start at 11 a.m. -- making it five consecutive 11 a.m., kickoffs for Minnesota.
The Gophers are 8-2 in their past 10 games in that time slot, including 3-1 in this stretch against Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois and Iowa.
The Ohio State game will be televised on ABC. The Buckeyes (8-1, 5-0 Big Ten) are coming off a huge 49-37 win over Michigan State, which all but ensured a Big Ten East title. The Gophers (7-2, 4-1) are tied atop the Big Ten West with Nebraska and Wisconsin, two teams that will meet next Saturday in Madison.
The game time for the Gophers' Nov. 8 game against Iowa was announced Monday, and it will be another 11 a.m., kickoff for Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium.
That will make it four consecutive 11 a.m., kickoffs for the Gophers, who are 2-1 so far in this stretch with home wins over Northwestern and Purdue, and a loss Saturday at Illinois.
The Iowa game will be televised on either ESPN2 or ESPNU. The Gophers (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten) have a bye this week, while Iowa (5-2, 2-1) plays Northwestern.
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