Ranking the 3 recently announced Big Noon Kickoff games for 2024 by must-watchability

FOX has already picked three games that will be featured on Big Noon Kickoff this college season.
J.J. McCarthy, Jordan Hancock, Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes
J.J. McCarthy, Jordan Hancock, Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

We may be a little more than three months out to the start of the 2024 college football season, but now is the time to get ready to get ready to figure out what games you may want to watch. While we have no idea if any of these teams will be any good or not, we do know that a handful will be playing on FOX's Big Noon Saturday this fall. Yes, the Big Noon Kickoff slate is already quite the doozy, alright.

For the sake of simplicity, look at FOX being a Big Ten product, relatively speaking. The Big Ten may have games airing on all major networks, but they are the ones that stir the drink at FOX. The Big 12 has a strong footprint on FOX as well, but the ACC and the SEC are what largely hold up ESPN these days in the wake of conference realignment. With 18 teams in the Big Ten, we have games to watch.

Brett McMurphy of The Action Network tweeted out the trio of games that will be deemed Big Noon Saturday events across major college football. To me, this is as many as FOX can honestly do right now. Thus, the television network picked the first two games of the season (Sept. 7 and Sept. 14), as well as claiming their biggest moneymaker of the season which is Michigan vs. Ohio State on Nov. 30.

Here are the three games FOX has officially tabbed as ones that will be featured on Big Noon Kickoff.

Keep in mind that Texas and Alabama are able to be shown on FOX because it is a non-conference home game for schools like Michigan and Wisconsin. If they were in Austin or Tuscaloosa, ESPN would almost certainly be airing those games. Even an SEC team can be a driver of eyeballs in the non-conference for a tradition-laden brand like the Big Ten. So what games are you going to watch?

3. Alabama Crimson Tide at Wisconsin Badgers, Sept. 14

To be fair, we need to give Alabama and Wisconsin's athletic departments a ton of credit for having the stones to schedule these type of games. Nick Saban would shy away from playing anyone of note in a true road game in the non-conference in any capacity. With it being the Kalen DeBoer show in Tuscaloosa now, that will be a thing of the past. For now, the future is a date with Luke Fickell's team.

From Alabama's perspective, I have the Crimson Tide as a top-12-caliber team in the country. To me, they are straddling the fence on if they make the expanded College Football Playoff or not. It could go either way, but I remain bullish. As for Wisconsin, it will be year two under Fickell. Hopefully, the Badgers' offense takes flight under Phil Longo with Miami transfer Tyler Van Dyke as the quarterback.

Because I don't think Wisconsin is ready for the big time yet, this Big Noon Kickoff game feels small.

2. Texas Longhorns at Michigan Wolverines, Sept. 7

Not going to lie, this one does excite me quite a bit. Seeing the Texas Longhorns play the defending national champion Michigan Wolverines in The Big House is what we strive for in terms of non-conference games. These were two of the four playoff teams from a year ago. Even though Texas switched leagues, I still have them as the second best team in the SEC entering the season already.

For as high as I am on Texas, I am not that on Michigan. Could the Wolverines make the playoff for the fourth year in a row? Potentially, but they should be thanking their lucky stars that the playoff has expanded from four to 12 teams. To me, this game is of the measuring stick variety. The winner will be seen as a serious contender, while the loser will have enough time to shake is new pretender label.

If Michigan had the same players as last year, this would be the No. 1 non-conference game by far.

1. Michigan Wolverines at Ohio State Buckeyes, Nov. 30

Admittedly, a lot will change between now and when The Game is played. I still have this year's installment between Michigan and Ohio State as the top billing for three very strong reasons. One, it is a massive rivalry game at the end of the regular season. Two, Ohio State is my pick for national runner-up to Georgia this season. And three, Michigan has won the last three meetings in this rivalry.

For Ohio State, it is a must-win for Ryan Day and his staff. Four straight losses to their arch rival will have him floating down a flat screen on the Olentangy faster than you can say John Cooper. Keep in mind that new Michigan head coach Sherrone Moore has already beaten Ohio State before ... last year. A win for the Wolverines may be compelling enough for the Selection Committee to let them in.

Non-conference games are oodles of fun, but the stakes never feel as high as when it is rivalry week.

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