Some big news dropped today about Indiana's first Big Ten game of the season - it will be played at night.
The Hoosiers will open their conference schedule at home against Michigan State under the lights. The Spartans, who made the college football playoff last season (unlike Ohio State), will most likely be the toughest home matchup for the Hoosiers this season, as Indiana takes to the road to play both Michigan and OSU. Thus, the 8 p.m. Staurday night start time will give IU fans plenty of time to brave the route 37 traffic to get to the game, and it should feature an excited crowd for what will hopefully be a mild early October evening.
Michigan State has given IU their fair share of trouble in recent years. Two years ago, the Spartans walloped the Hoosiers on a cold, rainy October afternoon that also was the first start for Zander Diamont. Last year, IU was actually only down by two heading into the fourth quarter in East Lansing, but MSU took control late, winning 52-26. The Hoosiers last won the Spittoon Game in 2006, a 46-21 win that caused then-MSU coach John L. Smith to be fired.
Regardless, getting a quality night game to open B1G play as part of Big Ten Network's Saturday night schedule is a continued sign that under Kevin Wilson, the Hoosiers have become a respected opponent in the conference, and that Indiana's style of play makes for a good television draw. Getting Michigan State at home under the lights, in the season after the Spartans lost their long-time QB to graduation, gives Indiana a great chance at getting their first win over Sparty in 10 years.
This game is the first in a very tough start to B1G play for the Hoosiers, in which they host MSU, travel to Ohio State, then host Nebraska, all in consecutive weeks.