Big Ten Conference celebrating its 114th yearPublished 8:33am Thursday, August 13, 2009
The 114th season of Big Ten football kicks off Thursday, Sept. 3, as Indiana hosts Eastern Kentucky in a primetime matchup to be shown live on the Big Ten Network.
The conference’s other 10 teams open their seasons on Saturday, Sept. 5, including eight which begin their 2009 campaigns at home. For the third consecutive season, Illinois starts its slate on neutral turf, taking on Missouri in St. Louis. Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin open play in front of their home crowds, while Minnesota heads out east to face Syracuse.
Every Big Ten home game during the first week will reach a national television audience, broadcast either on ABC, ESPN or the Big Ten Network.
Big Ten in the Polls
Five Big Ten teams are ranked in various polls in college football preview magazines, including Ohio State and Penn State who are ranked by six outlets (Athlon, Sporting News, CollegeFootballNews.com, Lindy’s, CBSSportsline.com and Phil Steele).
The Buckeyes are ranked as high as fifth by Athlon, and also come in at No. 8 (Lindy’s), No. 9 (Sporting News) and No. 10 (Phil Steele). The Nittany Lions achieved top-10 status in three polls, coming in at No. 5 by Phil Steele, No. 7 by Athlon and No. 9 by CBSSportsline.com. Iowa and Michigan State are each ranked in three polls, with the Hawkeyes coming in as high as No. 19 by CBSSportsline.com.
The Spartans’ highest ranking comes by virtue of the No. 20 spot by Athlon. Illinois is ranked in one publication, earning the No. 19 distinction by Phil Steele.
Big Ten on TV
The Big Ten Conference is enjoying its greatest national television exposure ever. For the third straight year, each Big Ten home game during the first three weeks of the season will be nationally televised either on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or the Big Ten Network.
These networks will combine to broadcast more than 20 contests in the opening weeks, including all nine home games in Week 1.