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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, February 24, 2024
Grey Satterfield

Column: Night games rewarding for fans and the university

As you’re reading this, the chance of the Wisconsin Nebraska football game being played at 7:00 p.m. is about 1 percent. For argument’s sake, I’d say a 2:30 start is 50% and 11:00 is 49%.

On Monday, ESPN announced that Florida State vs. Miami will be the 7:00 game on ABC, while selecting LSU vs. Arkansas to be on ESPN2. This still leaves the gap open for the 7:00 p.m. ESPN slot (why I say 1% instead of 0%), however, there are two big time SEC games on the 15, Alabama vs. Mississippi State, and Auburn vs. Georgia. CBS will get first dibs on one of these games, and ESPN will take the other one and put it on at 7:00, similar to last weeks Auburn and Ole Miss matchup. 

As for the 2:30 vs. 11:00 debate, the Badger game is competing against Minnesota and Ohio State, and seeing that the Buckeyes’ contest against the garbage fire that is Illinois got the primetime treatment last weekend, UW fans shouldn’t get their hopes up. Instead, get your alarms set for the sixth straight 11 a.m. game at Camp Randall.

This begs an obvious question: Why the hell are there no night games in Madison? 

Unless there is a crazy stroke of luck and the Minnesota-Wisconsin game gets flexed out, it will be the second season in a row with no night game.

Badgers played Gary Andersen and his old Utah State squad on September 15, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. on Big Ten Network. 

The year before that was the Nebraska game, a 7:00 p.m. ABC game on October 11, 2011. Both teams were in the Top 10 heading into the matchup. 

The year before that was the Ohio State game, a 7:00 p.m ABC game on October 16, 2010. the Buckeyes were No. 1 in the country before losing at Camp Randall. 

First of all, I’m here to dispel a big myth. The notion that university administrators do not want night games because they want to control students drinking is not true. 

UW police ejected 42 people from the Maryland game, an increase from the Illinois game and issued 24 citations, half of which were students.

Yes, there would be even more citations at a night game, but that’s the police’s problem. 

In fact, the administration would probably love to see more night games because it puts the University in the national spotlight. More people who watch a Badger game on TV are more likely to apply, more likely to go here, more like to pay tuition, more likely to graduate and donate to UW. 

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ESPN and BTN are the only groups that have a say in when Badger kickoffs are. Teams receive money for being on TV. If ESPN told a team that they were playing at 2:00 a.m., that’s when they’d play. Why do you think MAC teams are always playing on Tuesday nights? 

Imagine the university’s response to the horror of students drinking on on a school night! No, the university has no say, just the four-letter network in Bristol. 

It is however a shame that the Badgers do not get the respect of a program like Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been in five night games this year and could easily get another one. 

The Badgers’ quality of opponents is another reason, Nebraska is the only big game on the schedule. ESPN can’t get too excited about Bowling Green and South Florida. 

In order to get more night games, UW will have to be a dominant program for the next 50 years, or the B1G will have to jump big time in quality and national standing. 

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