The Big Ten recently announced that Ohio State and Minnesota will square off at high noon. Big deal, right? I tend to agree with that sentiment, but it did get me thinking about one thing: does Ohio State have a regular schedule? I know only three games have announced start times but from the looks of it Ohio State will be lucky to have more than two games in a row at the same time.
For argument’s sake, let’s assume that the Navy and Toledo games start at noon. Illinois looks like they will be marginally successful early on, so it is not unreasonable for that game to kickoff around 3:30 p.m. Plus, the Saturday night games that day already include Big 10 squads. We already know Indiana is at 7 p.m., and the games against Wisconsin will be either be noon or 3:30 p.m. (Michigan v. Iowa is already scheduled at night). So, through six games the Buckeyes will not have played two games in a row at the same time.
The four-game stretch of Wisconsin-Purdue-Minnesota-New Mexico State offers the best chance for the Buckeyes to experience any regularity. At the very least, they Scarlet and Grey will probably play back-to-back nooners at home against the Gophers and Aggies. I think it is unlikely that any of the last three games will be at the same time. Penn State will most likely start at night while the Michigan game has been known to begin at 1 p.m.
When I was a kid going to Ohio State games, virtually every game kicked off at noon. Now, some teams do not know the kickoff time until the week of the game. This is not to say that other elite teams don’t face the same type of scheduling fluctuations and I am not sure how I would quantify the effects of different kickoff times, including the different time zones.
Does this matter? I don’t know, but in a game of inches inspired by a military aesthetic, you would imagine a defined routine would yield considerable benefits. So, this varying schedule has to be considered a slight—perhaps minuscule—handicap. (If anyone has the time and inclination to perform a little research regarding the Buckeyes’ past schedules I would be very interested to see if any patterns appear to support my random supposition.)
Sleep schedules, pregame meals, and fan "participation" vary greatly based on something as simple as a kickoff time. So, I don’t find it is ridiculous to consider the impact on college players, especially for younger players still adjusting to college and a new city/campus.
The question for OSU: Will results vary?