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Michigan State football: Kickoff time predictions for 2023

When might the Spartans play every week?



Michigan State football

What time could Michigan State football be playing every week this year? Here are my weekly kickoff time predictions.

Now that we’re almost a week removed from the announcement of the Black Friday matchup vs Penn State that sent the fanbase into a frenzy, I figured now was as good a time as any to submit my kickoff time predictions for the rest of the Michigan State football schedule.

The Big Ten cut the cord with the Mouse, meaning ABC & ESPN games are no more, unless rare circumstances present themselves.

Ohio State has already been announced as a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff on NBC, so that means I have 10 games to predict. Let’s get it. All times eastern, bonus points for getting the right network.

Week 1 – vs. Central Michigan

Prediction: 7 p.m. on BTN

In this house we love our Labor Day weekend Friday night games. If you’ve noticed, this game was originally scheduled for Saturday, and it was a surprise to no one when it was shifted back to a Friday game. Since 2011, Michigan State has opened their season on a Friday night all but twice,  with 2017 and 2020 being the only Saturday season openers in that span. BTN is the network pick here because, well, you’re playing a bad MAC team and are coming off a 5-7 campaign.

Week 2 – vs. Richmond

Prediction: Noon on BTN

Obligatory FCS Week 2 noon start. Easy one. Next.

Week 3 – vs. Washington

Prediction: 7/8 p.m. on FOX

These are the games you schedule if you want to stay national relevant. I get the amount of anxiety that surrounds this game. Michael Penix Jr. returns to East Lansing with 1,003 passing yards, 10 total touchdowns, and a 68.3 percent completion rate against the Spartans. Penix-led teams have outscored MSU teams 94-68 in three games. Germie Bernard returns on the opposing sideline as a potential breakout candidate for DeBoer’s dynamic Huskies offense.

Washington is a trendy darkhorse playoff team, so having a national spotlight will be huge for their resume, albeit against an MSU team that many are not projecting to compete with teams like Washington this season. Looking at the rest of the slate, outside of the Backyard Brawl, this is the game for this week.

At least give us the all blacks for this one, please.

Week 4 – vs. Maryland (Homecoming)

Prediction: Noon on FS1

The Spartans have not played a noon homecoming game since 2018, which means one thing: They’re due.

This isn’t completely out of the norm, with 2013-2015 homecoming games kicking off at noon. Personally, I don’t think this matchup moves the needle with the TV powers that be to push this one into the second viewing window, even if MSU is coming off an upset victory the week prior.

Week 5 – at Iowa

Prediction: 3:30 p.m. on FS1

This prediction is based solely off vibes. Nebraska hosts Michigan this same week, which with first-year head coach Matt Rhule, screams Big Noon Kickoff. I think Iowa State vs. Oklahoma falls into the second viewing window on FOX, which would push this game to FS1.

Week 6 – BYE

Week 7 – at Rutgers

Prediction: Noon on BTN

…Do I really need to say anything?

Week 8 – vs. Michigan (Paul Bunyan Trophy)

Prediction: 3:30 p.m. on CBS

I’m going to come right out and say that this game should always be a night game. Please spare me “public safety concerns” or whatever excuse the powers that be can come up with to deny this state the ability to let the hate build and marinate over the course of the day. But that’s enough from me on it.

The game is a Big Ten on CBS dream scenario. Hearing the jingle with stadium shot of Spartan Stadium is going to be so glorious. Hand in glove fit. It’s a pretty big weekend for Big Ten football, with Ohio State vs. Penn State likely going to make the Big Noon slot, and the Floyd of Rosedale going up for grabs between Minnesota and Iowa in what I’m predicting to be the Hawkeyes’ classic night game at Kinnick.

Week 9 – at Minnesota

Prediction: Noon on FS1

Two teams meeting up for a hangover matchup in Minneapolis. This one to me screams 11 a.m. local start. Again, just vibes.

Week 10 – vs. Nebraska

Prediction: Noon on FOX

For some weird reason, and probably the same reason Nebraska’s game against Michigan will fall on Big Noon, I think MSU’s game against the Cornhuskers will fall there, too. The slate isn’t awesome this week and looking at the Big 12, FOX would look stupid to have Bedlam (Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma) played at noon.

Just brace yourselves for Big Rhule Saturday.

Week 11 – at Ohio State (7:30 p.m. NBC)

Week 12 – at Indiana

Prediction: Noon on BTN


Week 13 – Penn State (Black Friday, Ford Field at 7:30 p.m. on NBC)

Inevitably some of these games will be flexed for a multitude of reasons, but given where Michigan State football currently is, there isn’t always a huge reason to have them front and center on a week to week basis.

Thankfully the brand still carries weight and gives this 2023 team filled with a lot of unproven and unknown plenty of primetime opportunities to re-establish themselves as a team you can’t ignore.