The long-awaited Big Ten schedule release finally happened Wednesday. Speculation went back and forth as to whether "The Game" would actually be moved from its traditional placement as the final game of the regular season. Indeed it was, as Ohio State and Michigan are scheduled to meet in Ohio Stadium on October 24. It will be the first time since 1942 that the rivals will meet prior to the final Saturday of the regular season.
"The critical thing is player safety and trying to play the game," Meyer said when he joined the Big Ten Network Wednesday. "It's heartbreaking to be honest with you, but adaptability, sacrifice are going to be critical on everyone's part."
When the schedule came out, it didn't take long for the Buckeyes to adjust. The Ohio State Twitter account posted a video of the infamous "countdown clock" being readjusted.
The schedule, as it stands now, begins with Ohio State playing at Illinois on Thursday September 3 in what will presumably be a night game. The early start date is allowing the Buckeyes to open training camp immediately, with practice number one being held Thursday. Meyer talked about the challenges of coaching in an uncertain 2020 football season that could result in game postponements or even a season cancellation.
"I'm very proud of Ryan Day and I'm very proud of some of these other coaches that I'm colleagues with," Meyer said. "It's not your job to make statements. It's not your job to give opinions and really your opinion doesn't matter. A football coach is exactly that, a coach. Make sure your team can tackle well, make sure your team can throw and catch and have ball security and that you're recruiting at a high level. That's where you're going to see those programs thrive."
The Michigan game is the obvious headline story in the Buckeye schedule, but some other items that grabbed my attention include the September 12 Rutgers game. The Rutgers program has been the hardest hit in the Big Ten when it comes to COVID-19. According to NewJersey.com, 28 players and/or staff members were infected as of Monday. Workouts have been halted there for almost two weeks. It makes you wonder if the Scarlet Knights will be ready to play by week two. Perhaps that game may end up being moved to one of the bye weeks, or the open date November 28--the original date of the Michigan game. Also of note is the added Big Ten game. Ohio State is scheduled to play at Purdue September 19. Last time the Buckeyes went to West Lafayette, they came home with a 49-26 loss. It was the final loss in Urban Meyer's Buckeye coaching career, and the only loss for the 13-1 2018 Rose Bowl champion Buckeyes. The placement of the Penn State game is interesting as well. If the season is able to be played, it would seem there's a good chance that the November 7 game at Happy Valley, will be for the Big Ten East championship. Here's hoping we get to that point.