Week 8 perhaps has been the most talked-about week of each of the past two high school football seasons.

It has contained matchups such as Dublin Coffman-Hilliard Davidson, Olentangy-Olentangy Liberty and Pickerington Central-Pickerington North, games that have been important not only because they are rivalries but also their implications on league and playoff races.

All of those games again will take place on that same weekend this coming October, as will another important showdown not originally anticipated.

Ohio State will visit Northwestern on Friday, Oct. 18, one day earlier than previously scheduled. It is a continuation of the Big Ten Conference's plan to move some games to Fridays to increase exposure by way of competing with fewer college games airing on that night.

Six such games were played in 2017. Northwestern was in half of those, and then began the 2018 season with a Thursday night game at Purdue.

Such a move might increase exposure, but not for many in places like the Midwest, where the belief runs deep that Fridays should exclusively belong to high school football.

The announcement that OSU-Northwestern would move was made seven days before Christmas. Overwhelmingly negative feedback followed.

"Fridays belong to high school football, especially in Ohio. The (Big Ten) has no exposure to gain playing on Friday," read one reply to an @ThisWeekSports tweet the day of the announcement.

"I hate it!" read another.


"I understand why we're doing this, but it does not make me happy," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald told the Chicago Tribune, a stance on which he doubled down June 5 before singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley Field.

"It's well-documented that I'm not a fan. I'm not going to get in trouble again (from) the Big Ten, but I believe Friday football is for high schools," Fitzgerald said. "Especially for our fan base that comes from all over the country to watch us play, to ask them to take another day off of work ... I'd like to keep high school football to Fridays and let us play on Saturdays."

The reason Ohio State doesn't need to play on a Friday is why the Big Ten thinks it needs the Buckeyes on a Friday. They draw eyeballs everywhere, from fans and detractors alike.

Given that this will be a rematch of last season's Big Ten championship game, yes, this is significant. But around here, OSU playing Florida International or Gordon Gee's Little Sisters of the Poor is important.

Then again, two 0-7 high school teams could be matching up in Week 8 and it would be important to somebody.

Is this move surprising? Given the increasing lack of respect from college football toward its fans, and in this case its own farm system, it's expected.

Prices to attend one Power Five conference game are exorbitant. The games are too long -- robbed of rhythm by spread offenses that instead of accelerating play drag it to a halt by way of myriad passes and the clock stopping on every first down -- on top of too many reviews, too many commercial breaks and halftimes that are too long culminating in too many bowl games, the vast majority of which mean little beyond pride and paychecks.

Too much money is at stake for colleges and television partners to reverse this trend soon, if ever. To do so would presume they care more about the product than the cash.

The silver lining is that high school games start at 7 p.m., 90 minutes before Buckeyes-Wildcats -- which likely will still be in the first quarter when games begin to wrap up.

Nobody will be too far from the score, even if they don't want to know.

So far, there hasn't been an exodus of high school games to Oct. 17. Because every other sport already will have entered its postseason, the only conflicts would be first- or second-round action of Division I and Division III boys soccer and girls volleyball in Divisions I and IV.

That's not to mention what a mess earlier start times on a Friday would be.

Think it's hard fighting traffic for a 7 p.m. kickoff? It's almost as aggravating as missing the Buckeyes game, only necessary.