While I was out of town earlier this week, the Big Ten announced its prime-time schedule for this fall, and the Gophers received the same treatment as last season: No interest at all from ABC or ESPN, no chance of outdrawing the power schools once the Big Ten season begins -- but one non-conference game selected by BTN, allowing Minnesota fans to experience TCF Bank Stadium at night.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sept. 22, when Syracuse will make its first visit to Minneapolis since 1996 in the non-conference finale. That's the only home game that will be played at night, and comes in the season's fourth game, the same as last year's lone night game -- a 37-24 loss to North Dakota State.
The Gophers will play a second night game this year, opening the season in Las Vegas against UNLV on Aug. 30. The broadcast of that game is the property of the home team, and the Rebels have yet to finalize their arrangement, a task made more difficult by the recent decision to close The Mtn, a dedicated cable network owned by the Mountain West Conference. It's possible that CBS College Sports Network may buy the game as part of a broader agreement with the MWC.
The remainder of the Gophers' home schedule will be played during the day, with starting times determined once the Big Ten's television partners divvy up the games. Last year, the other six Minnesota home games all kicked off at 2:30 p.m.