UPDATE (9/16/2020): The announcement below is no longer accurate. The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors has voted unanimously to resume the football season starting the weekend of October 23-24, 2020. A new schedule will be made available once it is announced.
First Big Ten Conference-only schedule kicks off Thursday, Sept. 3 at Illinois
Columbus, Ohio – In the event that the Big Ten Conference and its member schools are able to hold an athletics season this year, the Conference released its restructured 2020 football schedule today with a 10th conference game added for all schools amid a season that would extend from as early as Sept. 3 through games of Nov. 21. Ohio State would kick off the Big Ten’s first-ever conference-only campaign on Thursday, Sept. 3, against Illinois in Champaign, Ill.
Each Big Ten school would have five home games and five road games during a season that would be dramatically modified because of the ongoing and uncertain COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, each school has two off or open weekends that can possibly be used as make-up dates for games that are postponed during the season because of circumstances caused by the pandemic.
“This is not a final decision that there will be an athletics season; it is the next phase in our responsible planning process with the Big Ten Conference to be prepared if we are able to have an athletics season,” Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith said. “The final decision will be made in the coming weeks in consultation with local, state and federal authorities.”
Non-conference games against Bowling Green, Oregon and Buffalo have already been cancelled while the nine Big Ten opponents previously on the Ohio State schedule remain. The 10th conference opponent added to the schedule is a Week 3 game Sept. 19 against Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind.
Ohio State, in the second year of the Ryan Day coaching era, will thus navigate a 2020 schedule that includes home games against Rutgers, Indiana, Nebraska, Michigan and Iowa, and road contests at Michigan State, Penn State and Maryland, in addition to the games at Illinois and Purdue.
Ohio State’s 2020 Football Schedule
Michigan in October
Some stunning news of the day, at least for traditionalists, was the moving of the Michigan game from the last weekend of the regular season, Nov. 28, to a Week 8 contest Oct. 24 at Ohio Stadium. This will be the first time since the national championship season of 1942 that Michigan will not be Ohio State’s final regular season opponent. Ohio State played Michigan on Nov. 21 in 1942 and closed the 9-1 campaign one week later against the Iowa Seahawks. Since then, the two schools had met in the team’s final regular season game for 77 consecutive years.
The Thursday evening opener at Illinois Sept. 3 is the fourth time in school history that Ohio State will open on a Thursday, after games in 1997 and 2010 at home against Wyoming and Marshall, respectively, and in 2017 at Indiana. Ohio State is scheduled to open the 2021 season on Thursday, Sept. 2, at Minnesota.
July 9 Big Ten Announcement
The Big Ten announced July 9 that, if the conference is able to hold fall sports based on medical advice, it will do so in a conference-only scheduling format. Sports affected are men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. Schedule details for these other sports will be released at a later date. Decisions on other Big Ten winter and spring sports will continue to be evaluated.
According to that July 9 release, by limiting competition to other Big Ten schools the Conference “will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.”