Big Noon Saturday on FOX is Killing College Football | OPINION

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NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

The latest news, insight, and analysis of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, and Penn State Basketball, including schedules, game results, analysis of breaking news, rumors, speculation, and recruiting coverage of future Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home to the latest Penn State Nittany Lions news, updates, insight, and analysis, including in-depth coverage of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball, and much more

Big Noon Saturday on Fox is Killing College Football | OPINION

Fox’s Big Noon Saturday is the worst thing to happen to college football in the last decade and is ruining college football.

Penn State Football, Big Noon Saturday
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin (right) shakes hands with Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day (Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports)

Okay, okay, that may be a slight overreaction after NIL, the transfer portal, corporate sponsors, and anti-trust lawsuits have upended the game we all know and love in the past few years.

But, can you think of a great, iconic game from your childhood that kicked off at noon Eastern (11 AM Central, 9 AM?! On the West Coast)? Growing up, I remember watching Saturday night college football under the lights on the big stage.

Massive top 10 matchups, the pageantry of the uniqueness of college traditions, the contrast of the bright lights on the dark backdrop of the night sky.

“Big time players make big plays when the lights are brightest.” This phrasing didn’t mean big-time players are made when the sun is at its highest in the sky. It meant stars were made under the lights on primetime at night with the entire nation watching.

The college football slate used to build up from good games at noon, to great games in the afternoon slot, to amazing matchups with heavy-weight fighters at night.

The anticipation of massive, season-defining matchups with championship implications would build all day while fans tailgated from dawn until dusk before heading in to watch yet another thriller.

However, thanks to media revenue-sharing agreements and greedy profit hunting, these matchups have been ripped out of our grasps in favor of sunburnt top 10 battles that allow you to be home before the sun even starts to set.


College Football’s Biggest Change

How did this all happen?

Within the last decade, Penn State went from trading off night Whiteouts, one of the greatest spectacles in all of sports, not just college football, against Ohio State and Michigan yearly, to playing top-10 matchups against the Buckeyes and Wolverines while local restaurants are still serving morning pancakes.

It is an absolute tragedy that these iconic night matchups with legendary announcers Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstriet on the call have been traded for mid-afternoon slots.

With ESPN and ABC’s domination of the primetime night slot thanks to iconic matchups in the late 2010s, think Penn State’s 2016 upset of No. 2 Ohio State or Ohio State’s 4th quarter comeback in 2018 against the Nittany Lions in the Whiteout, Fox decided not to compete with the primetime slot, and instead created a new primetime slot, “Fox Big Noon,” to broadcast the network’s top weekly matchup.

This timeslot has gotten extremely popular in terms of broadcast ratings, often being the top billing game of the week, leading to the network doubling down and continuing to broadcast the top matchups at that time.

The issue with this logic pushing more and more top matchups to the noon slot is that these games will earn top billing because they are big-time matchups not because they are at noon.

No one would honestly believe that these games are better at noon than under the lights in the primetime night slot.

Fans, students, and alumni are being robbed of the authentic college football experience for the sake of corporate profits and media revenue share. As long as the bottom line keeps getting bigger for networks, there is no incentive to better than fan experience and go back to the iconic primetime college football that we all grew up with and loved, no matter how much it is missed.

Money talks, and Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff slot is not going away.

Next week the NCAA will meet to discuss allowing corporate sponsors on jerseys and fields. NIL deals and the transfer portal will create more of a free agency each offseason. The college football that we knew and loved is unfortunately gone and there is nothing we can do about it.

MORE: Predicting Penn State’s Kickoff Times for Each Game in 2024

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