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Buckeyes still a prime-time attraction
Wednesday, May 02, 2007Doug LesmerisesPlain Dealer Reporter
Though Ohio State lost a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and probably will be picked to finish third in the Big Ten this season, the Buckeyes are still a draw. So despite losing its offensive stars, OSU will be playing under the stars.
Three of the Buckeyes' four Big Ten road games, at Minnesota, Purdue and Penn State, will be 8 p.m. starts this fall, the school announced Tuesday. Seven Big Ten games were chosen as prime-time contests to be shown on either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, and Ohio State was the only school to be involved in three of the games. Two other OSU game times also were announced: Sept. 15 at Washington at 3:30 p.m. on ABC and Oct. 20 vs. Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.
It's no surprise Ohio State is making so many night-time visits after playing in prime-time at Texas and Iowa last year. Coach Jim Tressel and Athletic Director Gene Smith prefer not to play home games at night, though the networks are always pushing for prime-time Buckeyes games. Since home teams are in charge of the start times, television has to take advantage when Ohio State is away.
Fans have less reason to fear the dark than in the past. Ohio State had a four-game losing streak in prime-time before wins over the Longhorns and Hawkeyes last year.
Several undrafted Buckeyes signed as free agents with NFL teams. Defensive tackle David Patterson signed with Atlanta, guard T.J. Downing with Arizona, cornerback Antonio Smith with Indianapolis and safety Brandon Mitchell with Houston.