Ohio State vs. Michigan in September? Wouldn't Bother the Buckeyes
Let's face it - nobody has any clue what the 2020 college football season will present. Frankly, most fans are just hopeful that there will be a fall season at all. It's fair to wonder, considering the fairly constant stream of bad CoVID-19 news related to colleges around the nation.
The Big Ten still hasn't released it's 2020 football schedule, as Commissioner Kevin Warren considers all of his options for the year. The Chicago Tribune and ESPN are both reporting that the league could put out the new, revised schedule sometime today. But as fans speculate about which games would be played, and when they would be played, one common theme keeps coming up.
In order to preserve the rivalry and make sure "The Game" actually happens, is it possible Ohio State plays Michigan early in the year? Perhaps even as early as September?
It's a fun thought exercise, but it's also a legitimate consideration.
Ohio State and Michigan have played the final game of the regular season every year since 1942. Most people would prefer to play Michigan after both teams have had a chance to get in a rhythm and shake off any early-season rust. But the prospect of playing some games and having a season canceled after only a few weeks, and not playing That Team Up North, is perhaps the worst option.
Ohio State's seven captains were introduced to the media on Tuesday on a teleconference and they addressed that very topic ... would it bother them if the Michigan game was scheduled early in the year?
“That’s a tough question,” redshirt junior center Josh Myers said. “With the uncertainty of the season, right now I’m more concerned about playing them at all in general. I don’t know if that necessarily came out right because I think we will play them regardless of where they are on the schedule. But I’m less concerned with it now given the circumstances. Of course, with the tradition of The Game, I would love for it to be the last game of the season.”
Jonathon Cooper grew up just outside of Columbus and made it quite clear last year how much the rivalry game meant to him - he had one game remaining before he'd burn his eligibility during an injury-riddled season. Instead of playing in the Big Ten Championship game or the prospect of playing for a national championship, Cooper put on the pads up in Ann Arbor. He didn't mince words when he was asked about the timing of this year's game.
“No. No. No. No. Not at all,” Cooper said. “That date does not matter. It’s just The Team Up North, as long as we get to play them.”
Myers and Cooper have the unique perspective of growing up in the heart of the rivalry. They were born into it. The other five Ohio State captains were not. But Justin Fields and Wyatt Davis still shared their two cents on theoretically playing the Wolverines early in the year.
“To be honest, I don’t really care when we play The Team Up North,” Fields said. “I just want to play them and my answer is simple and really just beat the brakes off of them, for real.”
“I’m right there with Justin. It really doesn’t matter to me when we play them. Obviously like Josh was saying, the tradition of that game is very important to us but it doesn’t matter. If it’s the first game on the schedule, so be it. We’re going to beat the brakes off of them.”
Consider the Buckeyes not phased by the possibility of playing the most tradition-rich game on their schedule at a totally unorthodox time.