Imagine a future where the Big Ten stretches across half the country, engaging the rich markets of the East Coast as well as the core Midwestern audience. Starting in 2014, we now have just that in this grand old football conference.
Now imagine a future where the Big Ten competes with other national power conferences to push at least one team into a college football playoff. As the tension builds through November toward conference championship weekend, the new East and West divisions will be in the spotlight starting this fall.
Now finally, imagine a future where the top contenders in the playoff chase hold the national television audience captive on the biggest stage of Saturday Night Football through the month of November. That will also finally come your way...
Wait, what? The Big Ten Conference still has that antiquated, old policy about no night games after the end of October? Well, actually, that policy is not really in place anymore, but television partners like BTN and ESPN/ABC have not gotten out of old habits yet and picked Big Ten night games for November.
With new conference partners creating many more overall conference games and the need to stay in the national spotlight highlighted by the new playoff system, now is the time for Jim Delany and the conference schools to force television's hand and push for a huge November night game presence. Final prime-time schedules will be released in April or May, and perhaps fans can help push for this and finally make this happen in 2014.
If you like the Big Ten and want it to succeed in the college football playoff world, 2014 has to be the year when November night games begin to become a regular thing. Let's take a look at what games and competitors could benefit the most this upcoming season.