ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Some of the Big Ten Conference seemed to be in an uproar Wednesday afternoon, following the announcement that the conference will air six select primetime Friday night football games in 2017 as part of the league’s new six-year media rights agreement with ESPN and Fox.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, however, was oblivious.
“I hadn’t heard that,” Harbaugh said Thursday morning on the “Jamie and Stoney” show on Detroit’s WXYT-FM. “I didn’t know anything about that.”
Harbaugh and Michigan (8-0, 5-0), which is No. 3 in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings, host Maryland (5-3, 2-3) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. There’s no possibility that Michigan will be among the Friday teams next season.
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel, in a statement Wednesday, said that Saturdays are Michigan’s preferred game days, with consideration to fans and alumni who travel “significant distances to attend games.”
“I think it’s a Saturday game,” Harbaugh said. “I’m for traditional Saturdays, Friday night is for high school football. That’s my knee-jerk reaction to it.”
Harbaugh was asked what former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler’s response would be to playing games on weeknights — and Harbaugh took his voice to a booming growl.
“Yeah, we’re going to tee it up on a Saturday afternoon!” Harbaugh exclaimed. “We don’t need any Friday night games!”
Michigan opened the 2015 season on a Thursday night with a 24-17 loss at Utah, but save for bowl games, weeknight games haven’t necessarily been any norm for the Wolverines. However, Michigan bowed out of playing any Big Ten-mandated Friday night games, and Penn State will not host Friday night games.
“I don’t think it really bothers me,” Harbaugh said of weeknight games. “I’m more used to it than it bothers me.”