Nebraska will play in Fox’s coveted early window twice in the opening weeks of the college football season.
Perhaps the most surprising of several early-season kickoff times and television assignments for the Huskers is that their Week Zero opener at Illinois on Aug. 28 is slated for a noon kickoff on Fox.
Three weeks later, Nebraska travels to Oklahoma for an 11 a.m. kickoff on Fox on Sept. 18.
Those assignments are two of five announced by the Big Ten on Thursday afternoon.
In all, five of Nebraska’s first six game times are now known. In addition to those games, the Huskers’ Black Friday home game against Iowa on Nov. 26 is a 12:30 p.m. kickoff on Big Ten Network. NU’s Nov. 20 trip to Wisconsin the Saturday before will be broadcast by ESPN, but the kickoff time has not been set.
The early timeslot on Fox has proven to be a ratings winner, but isn’t always a popular destination for teams and fans the way an evening, primetime kickoff is. On Thursday afternoon, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione released a terse statement that made clear he strongly objected to the 11 a.m. kickoff against the Huskers.
“We are bitterly disappointed that the great Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry, on the 50th anniversary of the Game of the Century, will kick off at 11 a.m.,” he said. “We tried every possible avenue to proactively make our case. The Big 12 Conference also supported our strenuous efforts to secure a more traditional time that would honor this game and our fans. However, in the end, our TV partner chose to exercise its full contractual rights and denied our requests.”
Nebraska now knows its kickoff times for four of its seven home games and half of its 12-game schedule overall.
The rest of NU’s kickoff times and broadcast assignments will be set in the normal six- to 12-day window before games.
That includes home games against Michigan (Oct. 9), Purdue (Oct. 30) and Ohio State (Nov. 6) and road games against Michigan State (Sept. 25), Minnesota (Oct. 16) and Wisconsin (Nov. 20).
Here’s the rundown of Thursday’s update:
Aug. 28: at Illinois, noon, Fox.
Sept. 4: vs. Fordham, 11 a.m., BTN.
Sept. 11: vs. Buffalo, 2:30 p.m., BTN.
Sept. 18: at Oklahoma, 11 a.m., Fox.
Sept. 25: at Michigan State (TBD).
Oct. 2: vs. Northwestern, 6:30 p.m., TBD.
Nov. 26: vs. Iowa, 12:30 p.m., BTN.
Photos: Our favorite staff images from the 2020 Nebraska football season
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