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Published: Wednesday, 8/29/2007

BTN debuts; BGSU, UM, OSU on this weekend

The long anticipated launch of the Big Ten Network will be at 8 tomorrow night. Locally, Buckeye CableSystem will carry the programming as part of its standard, expanded basic service on Ch. 67 (Ch. 645 in high definition). Buckeye was the first of about 75 local cable outlets to reach an agreement to carry BTN programming.

Tomorrow's inaugural program will be Big Ten Tonight, which will be followed at 9 by a replay of the 2006 Ohio State-Michigan football game, the first in a series called The Big Ten's Greatest Games.

Live football game coverage will begin on Saturday with the Youngstown State at Ohio State season-opening game at noon. Other conflicting Big Ten games will be aired on "overflow channels." In Buckeye's case, it will show Appalachian State at Michigan at noon on its BCSN subsidiary. At 8 p.m., the Bowling Green State University at Minnesota game will be aired on Ch. 67.

What is the Big Ten Network?

It is a 20-year joint venture between the Big Ten Conference and Fox Cable Networks that will provide athletic and academic programming 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Scheduled programming includes 38 live football games, more than 125 men's basketball games (including numerous conference matchups), 55-plus women's basketball games, more than 170 Olympic sports events involving Big Ten teams, archived regular-season and bowl games, coaches shows, and campus programming.

The Big Ten Tonight will be a nightly offering of highlights, analysis, features, historical segments and breaking news. Friday Night Tailgate will have crews visiting various campuses to preview weekend games and Big Ten Football Saturday will include pregame and postgame shows. A program called Big Ten Extra Points on Monday nights will review every highlight from every game involving a league team. Coaches' press conference segments will air on Wednesday evenings.

Dave Revsine will host Big Ten Tonight and will be part of a game-day studio team that includes Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith. Thom Brennaman, Wayne Larrivee, Roger Twibell and Jim Kelly head the football play-by-play talent with a stable of color commentators that include former Ohio State quarterback Mike Tomczak, ex-Minnesota coach Glen Mason, former Michigan tight end Derrick Walker and one-time OSU running back Butler By'not'e.

About half of the 38 scheduled live football games will be nonconference games slated during the first three weeks of the season. Each Big Ten football team is guaranteed at least two appearances on the network per year, including one conference game. The majority of those, however, will continue to be televised by ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.

At present, Time Warner Cable, which serves some suburban Toledo subscribers, has not reached an agreement to carry the BTN.

- Dave Hackenberg

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