Unless you have a television that can stream online video or a smart television with an Internet connection, don't try to find Fridays night's Ohio State game against Robert Morris with your remote control.
The Buckeyes will have the regular-season game streamed but not available over the air or on cable. This change has happened since at least the 2007-08 season, and there are several reasons.
Conference expansion is a driving factor, alongside the perceived quality of opponent and the cachet that comes with the Ohio State brand.
The Buckeyes didn't make the cut on cable once the Big Ten's broadcast partners went through the conference's composite schedule and selected the night's most appealing games. For nonconference home games, CBS has the first chance to select weekend games, with ESPN going second. ESPN has first crack for weekday nonconference games, with the Big Ten Network next in either case.
"There are a lot of nonconference games that are played against opponents that have lower RPI, and that's a game that ESPN or BTN will put on its digital platform," said Mark Rudner, Big Ten senior associate commissioner of television administration. "It's pretty simple. I think that's pretty easy to understand why they would want to do that.
"In my experience in overseeing and administrating this process with our TV partners, the stronger the opponent, the more likely it is to get on what we call linear TV: BTN, ESPN, ESPN2 or CBS."
For many viewers, particularly older ones, the inability to sit down and flip on the game is frustrating. Rudner said the Big Ten Network has the backing of the conference to encourage coaches to play games on alternate dates to avoid clogging the schedule but that they don't discuss strength of schedule.