Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said he wanted more prime-time games, and ESPN granted his wish, announcing yesterday that three of the Buckeyes’ games this fall will be televised at 8 p.m. on one of its three networks.
They are all Big Ten games — at home against Wisconsin on Sept. 28 and Penn State on Oct. 26, and at Northwestern on Oct. 5. The network (ESPN, ABC or ESPN2) will be decided later.
The Big Ten Network could tap another OSU game for prime time, but athletic director Gene Smith said it is “not likely.” The BTN has not announced its schedule.
OSU had just two prime-time games last year, and Meyer said earlier this year that he hoped more night games would scheduled because the atmosphere in Ohio Stadium is much more electric when the sun goes down, which also aids recruiting.
The two largest crowds in Ohio Stadium history were for night games: against Nebraska last year (106,102) and Southern California in 2009 (106,033).
According to an OSU spokesman, the Buckeyes have played 59 times in games that started after 5 p.m. locally, including bowls and other neutral-site contests. They are 36-20 in those games officially, since the home win over Marshall, the road win at Minnesota and the Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas in the 2010 season were all vacated because of NCAA sanctions. The Buckeyes are 8-3 in night games at home, not counting the vacated win over Marshall.