Shamelessly ripping off ESPN's College Gameday format, the Big Ten Network announced earlier this week that starting this fall it will host its own Saturday morning on-site show.
From the BTN itself:
In the largest programming initiative in network history, BTN will take its college football pregame coverage on the road in 2016 with the debut of BTN Tailgate. BTN Tailgate will begin at 10:30 a.m. ET and is a live, 90-minute show originating from a different Big Ten campus each week during conference play.
BTN Tailgate will be Big Ten football fans' home this fall with previews, highlights, special guests and analysis from host Dave Revsine and BTN's football experts Gerry DiNardo and former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Anthony Adams. Dairy Queen, GEICO, Navistar, Slim Jim, TIAA and U.S. Cellular have all signed on as sponsors of the show, as well as the surrounding fan experience.
As a fan of a "lesser" Big Ten team, one that has somehow managed to attract two College GameDay broadcasts through (1) unabashed promotion of an historic but dangerous football game, and (2) a blip of success followed by 1.5 years of utter disappointment, I'm totally on board. BTN Tailgate provides viewers who like Big Ten football and get a little tired of the ESPN schtick with an outlet for B1G-centric football viewing.
Now on Saturday mornings BTN Tailgate gains viewers of teams not named Ohio State or Michigan a platform to assuredly hear previews and analysis of the Rutgers-Indiana tilt in-depth and as they tilt back Bloody Mary number 3 or 4. Human interest pieces in the Big Ten surely abound, and Revsine-DiNardo makes for a quality one-two. I don't know enough about Anthony Adams to comment on his ability as a host, but he'll bring a player's perspective.
Perhaps most excitingly, BTN Tailgate will give programs who normally don't attract GameDay attention the opportunity to highlight their fan experience, quality of tailgating, and enthusiasm of supporters. Imagine being an Illinois fan and seeing the broadcast with Red Grange in the background. A Northwestern fan with Lake Michigan as the backdrop. A Purdue fan wi--well, don't do that to yourself.
What remains to be seen are the various segments, along with just how ripped-off ESPN this will be. We've got some initial thoughts:
- Local Cuisine: "Hi, Glen Mason here broadcasting from the TCF Bank parking lot, where Nellie from Willmar is showing off her tater tot hotdish which I understand won first prize in the Kandiyohi County Fai--" /is concussed with a Grain Belt bottle
- BANDS: There always needs to be more band features.
- Coaching Profiles: Hear James Franklin's harrowing story of a lifetime of overcoming crippling mediocrity!
- Back to Your Roots: Week 1, a profile of an Iowa lineman who raises dairy cattle in the off-season on the family farm. Week 2, a profile of a Wisconsin lineman who raises dairy cattle in the off-season on the family farm. Week 3, a profile of a Nebraska lineman who raises beef cattle in the off-season on the family ranch. Week 4, a profile of a Michigan State linebacker who spends the off-season as a literal lumberjack AND LOOK AT HIS PICTURE WITH THE PAUL BUNYAN TROPHY. Repeat as necessary.
- Pick'em: Instead of putting on the mascot head, J Leman will be sent out into the wild the night before BTN Tailgate to kill and mount the mascot of the team he will select. This segment will be pulled either when Leman holds up the decapitated head of a Scarlet Knight or disappears hunting the elusive Hoosier.