Despite Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith indicating he’d be willing to go as far as hosting a Friday night game in the future, the Buckeyes won’t play one — at home or on the road — during the league’s first go at Friday Night Lights.
The Big Ten announced its inaugural slate of Friday night contests for 2017, which includes the following:
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
While there are those who aren’t bothered by the idea of Ohio State playing one Friday game a year, that’s mostly a contrarian opinion. Jim Harbaugh and Michigan have wisely elected not to participate, and the truth of the matter is for blue blood programs, the arrangement goes beyond “just one game.”
Besides the recruiting disadvantages (which even for one home contest can have a net negative effect), the impact on local high school football can’t be understated. To say nothing of the short week leading up to the game.
The OHSAA, Ohio high school sports’s governing body, tweeted out a Land-Grant Holy Land article recently siding with Friday night games being bad for both Ohio State and the state of Ohio:
It certainly can be a way for the Northwesterns and Rutgers of the world to get extra media attention, but it comes at little to no benefit for the conference’s power brokers.
At least for the first year, Ohio State won’t be part of it.