The Big Ten waited and waited to bring football back, and they put dozens of protocols in place to make it happen safely during the middle of a pandemic. But they couldn't make it to the second week without a huge issue on their hands.
Wisconsin had more than a dozen positive tests after their season-opening win against Illinois, with six players – including two quarterbacks – being knocked out for a minimum of 21 days and coach Paul Chryst, who also tested positive, being forced to isolate for a minimum of 10 days. That forced the league to cancel Saturday's game with Nebraska and Wisconsin.
It also puts Wisconsin's Nov. 7 game with Purdue in jeopardy since the Badgers will have to pause activities for seven days and separate the players, per protocols. That means they couldn't practice again until next Wednesday.
Chryst, who was seen not wearing his mask properly during the opener, was disappointed in came to this.
"Throughout this whole (time), really as you’ve gone about this, we were wanting the opportunity to play,” Chryst said of the Big Ten’s late start. “And then to not have that opportunity.
"I know why and I support and understand why we’re not. But when you have a hand in it, that’s where there is disappointment. I don’t profess to be an expert on this, but this is one part of this virus, it gets you in a number of different ways.”
Wisconsin was a 10.5-point favorite when the betting line was released Sunday night by many gambling sites. Those people who jumped on Nebraska early were hoping the game would be played with Wisconsin's fourth-string quarterback. With the game canceled, all bets were returned.
The cancelations also alters the television schedule. The 3:30 p.m. ET game between No. 17 Indiana and Rutgers has been moved to FOX Sports 1 from the Big Ten Network.
League rules dictate that a team must play at least six games to be eligible for the Big Ten Championship Game. Wisconsin is the Big Ten West favorite, so it's going to be interesting to see how this plays out going forward.
It also shows how fragile this season can be. Indiana freshman wide receiver Javon Swinton talked about safety coming first on Wednesday.
"It's always about the bigger picture for us. We had a great win this weekend, but at the same time, that wasn't just our only goal for this year,'' Swinton said...For people to go out and party after that one game, that wouldn't be what we wanted,
"Just being smart in general, like wearing your mask and just staying around people you know are testing negative, we're just keeping our head down and doing what he have to do.''
Here are the latest lines from DraftKings for the Big Ten games this weekend, with game times and TV information as well:
Minnesota at Maryland
- GAMETIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- RECORDS: Minnesota (0-1), Maryland (0-1)
- LAST WEEK: Minnesota lost to Michigan 49-24; Maryland lost to Northwestern 43-3
- OPENING LINE: Minnesota favored by 20.5 points
- THURSDAY LINE: Minnesota favored by 20
Michigan State at Michigan
- GAMETIME: Noon ET
- TV: FOX
- RECORDS: Michigan State (0-1); Michigan (1-0)
- LAST WEEK: Michigan State lost to Rutgers 38-27; Michigan beat Minnesota 49-24
- OPENING LINE: Michigan favored by 25.5 points
- THURSDAY LINE: Michigan favored by 24.5
Purdue at Illinois
- GAMETIME: Noon ET
- TV: Big Ten Network
- RECORDS: Purdue (1-0); Illinois (0-1)
- LAST WEEK: Purdue beat Iowa 24-20; Illinois lost to Wisconsin 45-7
- OPENING LINE: Purdue favored by 7.5
- THURSDAY LINE: Purdue favored by 7.5
Indiana at Rutgers
- GAMETIME: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX Sports 1
- RECORDS: Indiana (1-0); Rutgers (1-0)
- LAST WEEK: Indiana beat Penn State 36-35 in overtime; Rutgers beat Michigan State 38-27
- OPENING LINE: Indiana by 11.5 points
- THURSDAY LINE: Indiana by 10
Northwestern at Iowa
- GAMETIME: 3:30 p.m ET
- TV: ESPN
- RECORDS: Northwestern (1-0); Iowa (0-1)
- LAST WEEK: Northwestern beat Maryland 43-3; Iowa lost to Purdue 24-20
- OPENING LINE: Iowa favored by 2.5 points
- THURSDAY LINE: Iowa by 2.5
Ohio State at Penn State
- GAMETIME: 7:30 p.m. ET
- Ohio State (minus-12.5) vs. Penn State, 7:30 p.m. (TV: ABC)
- TV: ABC
- RECORDS: Ohio State (1-0); Penn State (0-1)
- LAST WEEK: Ohio State beat Nebraska 52-17; Penn State lost to Indiana 36-35 in overtime
- OPENING LINE: Ohio State favored by 12.5 points
- THURSDAY LINE: Ohio State by 12 points
Wisconsin at Nebraska
- GAMETIME: CANCELED
- RECORDS: Wisconsin (1-0); Nebraska (0-1)
- LAST WEEK: Wisconsin beat Illinois 45-7; Nebraska lost to Ohio State 52-17
- OPENING LINE: Wisconsin favored by 10.5 points
- WEDNESDAY LINE: Off the board, wagers returned to bettors