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Five Conference Programs Scheduled for Nighttime Appearances in Upcoming Campaign

Park Ridge, Ill. The Big Ten Conference office released the game times and television plans for five home football contests today to appear during prime time on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. A Big Ten contest will be featured during prime time in at least five of the nine weeks of intraconference play, including four appearances by Penn State, a pair of games for Ohio State and Wisconsin and one contest each for Illinois and Michigan.

The Big Ten home schedule will hit prime time during the opening weekend of conference action on Saturday, Sept. 27, when Penn State hosts Illinois at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. The Fighting Illini defeated the nationally-ranked Nittany Lions last season on the way to their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1984. PSU collected at least nine wins for the third straight season after winning the Valero Alamo Bowl, giving head coach Joe Paterno his NCAA-record 23rd bowl triumph.

The conference’s nighttime slate continues with a pair of Wisconsin home games the following two weekends, with the Badgers hosting Ohio State on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. CT on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 and Penn State on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN or ESPN2. Wisconsin is coming off a fourth straight season with at least nine wins, the longest streak of success in school history. The Buckeyes are aiming for a fourth straight Big Ten Championship and an unprecedented third consecutive outright crown after reaching the BCS National Championship game the last two seasons.

Nighttime games will continue on Oct. 18 when Penn State hosts Michigan for a 4:30 p.m. ET game to appear on ESPN or ESPN2. The Wolverines welcome new head coach Rich Rodriguez for the 2008 season after Lloyd Carr ended his time on the sidelines with a victory in the Capital One Bowl. The Big Ten’s final prime-time outing on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 will feature Penn State at Ohio State on Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. ET.

The Big Ten will hold the 2008 Football Media Days and 37th annual Kickoff Luncheon on Thursday and Friday, July 24-25, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, featuring all 11 head coaches and some of the conference’s top returning players. The 113th season of Big Ten football kicks off on Saturday, August 30, with 10 of 11 schools in action.

2008 BIG TEN PRIME-TIME FOOTBALL GAMES ON ABC/ESPN/ESPN2
Sept. 27 – ILLINOIS at PENN STATE, 8 p.m. ET, ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
Oct. 4 – OHIO STATE at WISCONSIN, 7 p.m. CT, ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
Oct. 11 – PENN STATE at WISCONSIN, 7 p.m. CT, ESPN or ESPN2
Oct. 18 – MICHIGAN at PENN STATE, 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2
Oct. 25 – PENN STATE at OHIO STATE, 8 p.m. ET, ABC, ESPN or ESPN2