Wisconsin Football: Badgers to play Friday night in 2017 opener

Less than a week after proposing the idea of Big Ten football games being played on Friday nights, the conference released its six-game schedule for 2017. The following will be televised on either FOX or ESPN.

2017 Big Ten Friday night games:

Fri., Sept. 1 Washington at Rutgers
Fri., Sept. 1 Utah State at Wisconsin
Fri., Sept. 8 Ohio at Purdue
Fri., Sept. 29 Nebraska at Illinois
Fri., Oct. 13 Northwestern at Maryland
Fri., Oct. 27 Michigan State at Northwestern

Wisconsin will open its 2017 season at home against the Utah State Aggies. The Badgers and Aggies last played in 2012 in Madison, when Gary Andersen was still the head coach at Utah State. Andersen left after the 2012 season to take over at Wisconsin.

The Aggies gave the Badgers a scare in their previous meeting, narrowly beating the Badgers and a missed field goal away with seconds remaining from winning. Wisconsin took the game by a score of 16-14.

The idea to move games to Friday nights is in hopes of more national and television exposure. Thanks to new broadcast agreements, all 14 teams and every conference game will be televised on ABC/ESPN, FOX or Big Ten Network for the next six years. Not every Big Ten team will be competing on Friday nights during that span.

“There has been a lot of dialogue within our conference about the feasibility of playing a very limited number of Friday night games,” UW athletic director Barry Alvarez said in a statement last week. “As a former high school and college coach, I have great respect for the tradition and importance of Friday night high school football in the state of Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest. As a conference, we felt it was the right time to explore additional opportunities for exposure on Friday nights on a limited basis.

“At Wisconsin, we are open to hosting games at Camp Randall on the Friday night prior to Labor Day weekend in selected years but have not committed to hosting Friday night games at any other time.”

All Friday night games will be announced at least 10 months in advance.

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