Big Ten Releases New Schedule with Oct. 24 Start

Herb Gould

Just call it Big Ten 3.0.

After scrapping its original 12-game schedule in August for a virus-impacted conference-games-only schedule that also was scrapped, the Big Ten released its second revised schedule on Saturday.

The eight-game schedule will begin on Oct. 24, highlighted by Nebraska at Ohio State—well, the Cornhuskers wanted to play—and Michigan at Minnesota in a game where the much-improved Gophers could leave Michigan fans reaching for something stronger than the Little Brown water Jug.

The other openers: Illinois at Wisconsin, Iowa at Purdue, Rutgers at Michigan State, Penn State at Indiana, Maryland at Northwestern. A game or two could be shifted to Friday, Oct. 23, when the television schedule is announced.

Other highly anticipated games include: Ohio State at Penn State in Week 2, Michigan at Ohio State on Dec. 12, the final Saturday of play, and Penn State at Michigan in Week 6.

In the West, Wisconsin plays host to Minnesota on Nov. 28 (Week 6) and travels to Iowa for its Dec. 12 finale. Iowa goes to Minnesota in Week 4 (Nov. 14).

Key crossover games: Wisconsin at Michigan on Nov. 14 and Iowa at Penn State on Nov. 21.

In addition to the conference championship game on Dec. 19, the rest of the league will play a ninth game against a team from the other division that finished in its slot: No. 2 vs. No. 2 down to No. 7 vs. No. 7. Those matchups could be juggled to avoid rematches.

In other words, the Big Ten envisions playing nine games in nine weeks due to its late start.

The Coronavirus makes that a logistical tightrope walk. Conference officials are hopeful advances in rapid testing will allow them to identify those who test positive and isolate them, enabling the games to proceed.