Penn State will be playing three times under the lights this season, including that rare mid-September Big Ten game at Rutgers.
It will mark the league debut for the Scarlet Knights and for Penn State head coach James Franklin.
And, yes, this won’t be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. This will be on-campus at comfy, 52,000-seat High Point Solutions Stadium.
But could there be a fourth night game looming?
Suddenly, it’s possible for Penn State, seeing as how the Big Ten has broken tradition and scheduled two prime time games in November. (Illinois at Ohio State, Nov. 1; Michigan State at Maryland, Nov. 15). The previous rationale was that late-season night games could make it tougher for fans, not only to sit through bad-weather games as temperatures drop, but also with bad road conditions at night.
But, of course, it seems that TV money and exposure has won out. Heck, Nebraska will play five-straight night games through Oct. 18, with only a bye week in between.
“Additional November prime-time games could be announced, so stay tuned,” writes Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com.
So, if Penn State performs better than expected in Year One under Franklin, and Michigan State contends for a Big Ten title, as expected …
… could their season-ending, Thanksgiving weekend matchup in Beaver Stadium get pushed into prime time, too?
I’d still think smarter heads would prevail, considering that you could be asking for big driving problems heading over the mountains after midnight on the last day of November.
Of course, now that the November lid has been lifted, pure theater and publicity might just win in the end.