Penn State vs. West Virginia snubbed from primetime spot on NBC’s Big Ten coverage

In Week 1 of the college football season, Penn State has one of the most intriguing matchups, traveling to Morgantown to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers who won nine games last season, but they did not get a primetime broadcast slot.
Penn State's Nick Singleton (10)
Penn State's Nick Singleton (10) / Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Penn State Nittany Lions will open up their 2024 season in Morgantown on August 31 against a West Virginia team they beat 38-15 in Happy Valley last year. The Mountaineers went on to win nine games after dropping that Week 1 matchup, so the rematch brings plenty of anticipation for two teams who could be in contention for a spot in the 12-team College Football Playoff. 

However, on Monday, NBC, one of the Big Ten’s broadcasting partners, announced that on August 31, Fresno State at Michigan, the reigning national champs, would be the featured game on Big Ten Saturday Night. 

The second week of the season, when Penn State hosts Bowling Green, understandably took a back seat to Colorado and Nebraska rekindling an old rivalry with the most polarizing character in college football coaching the Buffaloes. 

Penn State at West Virginia will undoubtedly be a much more compelling game than Fresno State traveling to Ann Arbor, so either NBC viewed Michigan as the most bankable product even without Jim Harbaugh and many of last year’s players on the roster, or one of NBC’s competitors flexed its muscles. 

Aside from NBC’s Big Ten Saturday Night, the biggest platform in the Big Ten is Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff. With the start time in Morgantown almost certainly in the afternoon instead of primetime, Fox will likely want to feature the Nittany Lions and Mountaineers because the only other Big Ten games featuring two power conference opponents that weekend are Minnesota vs. North Carolina on Thursday and LSU vs. USC which is scheduled for Sunday night in primetime. 

Penn State and West Virginia deserved a primetime spot, but in lieu of that, the Big Noon crew should be in Morgantown for one of the best games in Week 1.

Next. Penn State is uncharacteristically thin at linebacker. Penn State is uncharacteristically thin at linebacker. dark