Is it too soon to start thinking about the 2020 college football season? Probably not, considering college football announces non-conference games over a decade out and the Big Ten has league games set through 2025. So it's in that light that we report this news: the Iowa-Minnesota game next year is moving from Saturday, September 19 to Friday, September 18.
This is the dumbest episode of "Fright Night Lights" ever.
This is part of the Big Ten's push in recent years to move a handful of conference games off of Saturdays (where they belong) to Friday nights (where they do not). Minnesota has played in a game like these before -- they hosted Indiana on a Friday night in October 2018. Why is the Big Ten doing this? TV dolla dolla bills, y'all. For the increasingly large sums of money that the league's TV partners shell out, the more control they want over the schedule -- including the ability to air games outside of the three primary viewing windows on Saturday (early: 11:00 AM CT; mid-day: 2:30 PM-3:00 PM CT; evening: 6:30 PM-7:00 PM CT).
So we get games like this one, which intrude on the primacy of of high school football on Friday nights -- and make things more complicated for traveling fans. As media rights deals go up, up, and up, the leagues care less and less about the paying customers who actually attend the games. Of course Iowa and Minnesota have been regularly been playing regular season games on days other than Saturday: Minnesota has opened the season on a Thursday in 9 of the last 10 seasons while Iowa has played Nebraska on Friday for the last nine years. The difference between those games and this one? Those games always fall on holiday weekends: Minnesota opens the season over Labor Day weekend, while Iowa and Nebraska have always played over Thanksgiving weekend since the Huskers joined the Big Ten. That's a bit different than playing on a random non-holiday Friday night in September.
The schedule change means that Iowa will now face two of its biggest rivals in a six-day span: they host Iowa State in Iowa City on Saturday, September 12 before heading to Minneapolis to face Minnesota on Friday, September 18. That's... not ideal. That said, this kind of short turnaround and playing on a Friday certainly isn't foreign to Iowa after this last decade. As noted, Iowa and Nebraska have been playing on the Friday after Thanksgiving every year since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011 (though Iowa-Nebraska will be moving off that day for the next two seasons), with all of those games coming just six days after the game the previous week. Iowa's done well in those games: they're 6-3 against Nebraska in those Friday games and also 6-3 in the games the week before the Black Friday game; five times they've won both games.
TV and start time information is still TBA, but based on recent precedent with these games, you can probably pencil in a start around 6-7 PM CT on FS1.