You had to see this coming, the placement of the Iowa-ISU football game on the Big Ten Network.
The BTN announced its early season schedule Tuesday. The Hawkeyes will play Maine and Florida International at 11 a.m. Week 3, the Hawkeyes will host Iowa State at 11 a.m. on the Big Ten Network.
Elizabeth Conlisk, VP of communications for the BTN, wouldn’t reveal where the Iowa-ISU game fit in the TV pecking order for week 3. ABC gets the top pick of Big Ten games. It globbed onto Oregon at Purdue, an attractive interdivisional matchup.
“We’re very happy with all the Iowa games that we’ll have on,” Conlisk said. The BTN has six Iowa games, including 11 a.m. games against Northwestern and at Michigan State and a 6 p.m. kickoff against Minnesota in the UM’s finale in the Metrodome.
ESPN or ESPN2 ended up with Florida Atlantic at Michigan State. Iowa-ISU and the rest (all D-minus scrimmage material) are on BTN.
I’m thinking Iowa-ISU was the second pick. Even with both teams coming off subpar seasons, it’s an interdivisional intrastate game that carries a bit more cache than FAU-Michigan State. (Although, FAU is coming off a Sunbelt Conference title.)
So, just as it sits at the table with Mediacom — Conlisk said the BTN and the ‘com are negotiating — the BTN plops down a gigantic stack of $100s. Mediacom serves about 75 percent of the state and 110 percent of the state is going to want the Iowa-ISU game. The two have been negotiating for more than a year with no success. Two weeks ago, the BTN and Comcast reached an agreement. Both sides made concessions. At the time, a Mediacom representative said it was a sign of hope. Time will tell.
The two sides are talking and the clock is ticking for the upcoming football season.
Meanwhile, the BTN will kick off some football preview programming with a 5 p.m. show Friday highlighting the conference’s newcomers. At 10 a.m. Saturday, a show on the BT’s running backs will debut. (The Iowa segment will probably be pretty short.) The quarterbacks preview will debut July 12 at 10 a.m.
Conlisk also said the BTN plans to broadcast from open practices in August, just as it did with spring games this March.
The BTN is a pretty good product, though I can’t really comment much beyond football. I think Glen Mason is a terrific analyst. Dave Revsine is an excellent studio host. Gerry DiNardo has been there and done that in coaching, so I respect his opinion. I’ll be interested in seeing what kind of tweaking it does in it second year.
Maybe you guys will get to form your own opinion this year.