According to the Commercial-Appeal, Mississippi State's football season opener at Memphis is being bumped up by two days, to Thursday, Sept. 1.
It's a TV thing, which means we get Thursday night football at the Liberty Bowl. As the story notes, MSU is probably fine with it, as it gives the Bulldogs a couple of extra days to prepare for their Sept. 10 trip to defending BCS champion Auburn.
Memphis athletics director R.C. Johnson confirmed in a statement that the game is planning to be moved: "We have been contacted by Fox. (MSU athletics director) Scott Stricklin and I have both talked, and we are both in agreement about moving the game, but it has not been finalized."
Stricklin spoke with reporters this afternoon at football practice and explained the MSU viewpoint.
"The big picture is Dan (Mullen) really wanted to have the game then, and when R.C. called me, we were interested in accommodating that," Stricklin said.
Conference USA has a television package with Fox, and as league spokesman Russ Anderson noted, C-USA has TV rights to the game because it's at Memphis. (The SEC syndicates several games to Fox Sports Net, but that's not what is being done here.) Anderson said an official announcement on the game date will be made by the conference within a week or two, when it announces the preliminary Fox game selections.
After the Auburn game, MSU will play another Thursday tilt, Sept. 15, at home versus LSU. For what it's worth, State is 17-24-2 all time in Thursday games.
"It’s always provided good exposure for our school, and as an alumnus it was always great time to catch a game on television," Stricklin said. "When the Ole Miss game was played on Thanksgiving night, I thought that was great exposure. It’s hard to put a value on that kind of opportunity to put your name and brand out there."
Stricklin said MSU will move up the start of August practices.
Look on the bright side: Instead of it being 162 days until football season, it's 160.