FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 29th, 2023
TODD BLACKLEDGE, JOSHUA PERRY, MICHAEL ROBINSON & MATT CASSEL PREVIEW BIG TEN FOOTBALL ON NBC AND PEACOCK
Four Days to Kickoff of Big Ten Football on NBC and Peacock This Saturday – No. 2 Michigan Hosts East Carolina at Noon ET Exclusively on Peacock; No. 7 Penn State Hosts West Virginia at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock
“I think that they are well positioned to make a run at the whole thing.” – Todd Blackledge on Michigan’s prospects this season
“I talked to Jim Harbaugh while we were at the Big Ten media day, and he thinks this kid is a generational talent.” – Matt Cassel on Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy
“A lot of people are saying, from an arm-talent standpoint, he’s probably the best or one of the best that has ever come out of the school. That’s a tremendous amount of pressure.” – Michael Robinson on Penn State QB Drew Allar
STAMFORD, Conn. – Aug. 29, 2023 – NBC Sports’ Big Ten Football analysts, including B1G Saturday Night’s Todd Blackledge and B1G College Countdown’s Joshua Perry, Michael Robinson, and Matt Cassel, previewed the upcoming Big Ten Football season on a media conference call.
NBCUniversal and the Big Ten Conference kick off their new 7-year agreement this Saturday, Sept. 2 with two of college football’s top programs – Penn State and Michigan – opening their 2023 seasons with home games.
- At Noon ET, exclusively on Peacock, the Big Ten champion and Associated Press preseason No. 2 Michigan Wolverines open “The Big House” against the East Carolina Pirates.
- At 7:30 p.m. ET, on NBC and Peacock, the AP preseason No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions, Rose Bowl winners this past winter, host West Virginia at Beaver Stadium in the schools’ 50th meeting, but first since 1992. The Nittany Lions and Mountaineers played 31 times between 1960-92.
Below are highlights from the call: For a complete transcript, click here.
Perry on Big Ten Football: “One of the things that I hope we all bring to you is just a celebration of college football. And I know a lot of people talk about the changing landscape…but ultimately, when we get to Saturdays, I think it is time to celebrate what the young men out there are doing and all the coaches and all the time they put in and ultimately the pride and the tradition that comes along with this conference specifically.”
Blackledge on Michigan’s prospects this season: “The last two years they have really turned the thing around. Coming into this year, with the guys they have coming back, with the way they’ve been able to refortify their offensive line again through the transfer portal, second year for the defensive coordinator and system with a lot of talent on that side of the ball, I think that they are well positioned to make a run at the whole thing.”
Cassel on Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy’s development: “I talked to Jim Harbaugh while we were at the Big Ten media day, and he thinks this kid is a generational talent. And the strides he’s made from year one as a full starter last year going into year two, he thinks it’s going to be a night-and-day difference with his comfort level.”
Blackledge on Penn State QB Drew Allar’s first career start this Saturday against West Virginia: “He’s going to learn and grow and he’s got the talent to be a great player, but I don’t think that’s going to happen overnight. It’s just not something that — I don’t care how many stars you have in front of your name, from the recruiting analyst — you still have to play and grow and learn as a starting quarterback. I think he’ll do well.”
Robinson on the expectations for Allar this season: “He’s going to have to make big-time throws. A lot of people are saying, from an arm-talent standpoint, he’s probably the best or one of the best that has ever come out of the school. And that’s a tremendous amount of pressure.”
Perry on the coast-to-coast nature of the Big Ten post-expansion: “I understand that dynamic is certainly changing now, but to get those matchups as regular-season matchups in-conference is really going to lean into the tradition for people…The year I won the championship at Ohio State in ’14 we played Oregon…It’s a team that Ohio State hadn’t historically faced a ton. And I think even that desire to see those two brands on the football field was a part of the buildup, even though it was a championship game. I think people really desired to see that.”
Robinson on what he’s looking forward to this season: “I love the energy of game day. I love the player entering the arena. I love the fan experience. I love the fact that we’re on the pregame show to feel that energy of being on-site.”
NBC Sports’ Big Ten Football package features B1G Saturday Night on NBC and Peacock – marking the first time ever that Big Ten Football will have a dedicated weekly primetime game on a national broadcast network – and nine exclusive games on Peacock.
Peacock will simulstream all of NBC Sports’ college football games and studio shows airing on the NBC broadcast network this season, including B1G Saturday Night and Notre Dame Football home games.
Peacock’s expansive programming offers the most live sports of any SVOD service in the United States, featuring live coverage including Sunday Night Football, Olympic Games, Premier League, Notre Dame Football, NASCAR, NTT IndyCar Series, Big Ten Football, and much more. Peacock also offers daily sports programming on the NBC Sports channel.