April 15, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; The scarlet and gray teams square off during the first quarter of the Ohio State spring football game Saturday at Ohio Stadium.Mandatory Credit: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch Credit: The Columbus Dispatch

College football spring games are largely a lesser version of the actual product.

Rosters play against themselves. Quarterbacks can’t be touched. And the rules can even change on the fly depending on what the head coach wants to accomplish.

But much like pizza, bad college football is still better than no college football. At least that’s Fox’s theory, as the network announced on Monday that it will broadcast Ohio State and Michigan’s upcoming spring games to its national audience.

“We have huge news. On April 13 and April 20, we will be televising Ohio State’s and Michigan’s spring football game live on Fox,” Fox analyst Joel Klatt said. “That’s right, we’re airing them on Fox. I’ll be at each of those games. Both of them are going to be at noon Eastern, so Big Noon rolls on. I cannot wait for these.”


While the televising of spring games is nothing new, this appears to be the first time it has happened on network television. In Ohio State and Michigan, Fox — which is the home of the Big Ten — will be showcasing its two most high profile programs, with both the Buckeyes and Wolverines possessing no shortage of interesting storylines entering 2024.

In Columbus, Ohio State had one of the most active offseasons in the country, retaining several players and attracting multiple high profile targets on the recruiting trail and in the transfer portal. Meanwhile in Ann Arbor, Michigan will look to defend its College Football Playoff championship while simultaneously entering the Sherrone Moore era after Jim Harbaugh’s departure for the Los Angeles Chargers.

Considering football’s popularity in America, it’s honestly surprising it took this long for a network to put spring games in showcase spots. It will be interesting to see how the ratings shake out, but the safe bet is that this will become a growing trend in the near future.

[The Joel Klatt Show]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.