The Big Ten has officially unveiled their third edition of the 2020 conference schedule. After the season resumption announcement on Wednesday this week that the conference would begin the fall season Oct. 23, comments made by the Purdue Athletic Director indicated the latest iteration of a schedule would be based on the original nine game conference schedule for 2020.
The difference in scheduled games resulted in a cross-over division opponent being dropped for each team. Nebraska’s AD Bill Moos also made clear the schedule would be balanced for home-and-away games between divisions, whereas in typical even number years conference schedules have five home games for east teams, but only four for west teams.
Given these clues we could get a good idea that the game in New Jersey against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights was getting cut from the schedule, while the home game against Penn State and the road game at Ohio State were being kept. Additionally, the home game against the Michigan State Spartans added to the 10 game schedule released in August was nixed as well.
Additionally, the ten game schedule reworked future schedules by flipping Wisconsin and Purdue games so Wisconsin travels to Lincoln again this season, and the Huskers travel to Purdue again as well. This ensures that either Iowa or Wisconsin (but not both) will be in Lincoln each season, balancing future schedules.
Week 1 (Oct. 23-24): at Ohio State Buckeyes
Week 2 (Oct. 30-31): Wisconsin Badgers
Week 3 (Nov. 6-7): at Northwestern Wildcats
Week 4 (Nov. 13-14): Penn State Nittany Lions
Week 5 (Nov. 20-21): Illinois Fighting Illini
Week 6 (Anticipated Nov. 27 - “Black Friday”): at Iowa Hawkeyes
Week 7 (Dec. 4-5): at Purdue Boilermakers
Week 8 (Dec. 11-12): Minnesota Golden Gophers
Week 9 (Dec. 18-19): Championship Weekend
The conference also noted that: “special date games, including Fridays, will be determined and announced at a later date.”
The Big Ten to Nebraska: “You wanted football. Here’s your schedule.”
The Big Ten dished up a brutal crossover schedule for Nebraska in visiting the Buckeyes and then hosting the Nittany Lions. There will be no question where the Huskers stand in year three of the Scott Frost era. There is also no question what message the Big Ten wanted to send the Huskers after their open rebellion. Am I complaining? Absolutely not. From the look of my Twitter feed, no Husker fans are whining about the schedule. They are ready to watch their team and take the lumps that will come with it.
No date has been set for the Iowa game, but considering that the Big Ten has already indicated there will be Friday games and every Nebraska/Iowa Big Ten game has been played on Black Friday, expect this game to be played on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Additionally, the conference is planning for a ninth game by having a “Championship Weekend” in which they intend to pit cross division opponents against each other by seeding earlier in the Saturday leading up to the conference title game between the winners of each division. Barry Alvarez indicated earlier this week that the league will try to avoid rematches in these final games.
I think the athletic department said it best.
Ohio State wasn’t about to disagree
Jill: Deja Vu? I feel like we’ve been here before. Opening the season against our new best friends, the Buckeyes was an inevitability. The second crossover being against the Nittany Lions. Also seemed inevitable. I don’t mind the Week 9 “championship” weekend slate. No, it isn’t something that would happen in a normal year, but it is the best way to sneak a ninth game in and hope 2020 isn’t paying attention to our attempted football gluttony. I mean, if that set up is good enough for our 6th grade club league...
I am not complaining about this schedule. It is difficult, but football is a difficult game. Besides, who knows what the schedule will really look like once teams start having to quarantine and there is mid-week shuffling to get in games among teams who can play?
Mike: We should have expected these games, with our division games and one home/one away east division opponent based on the original schedule. We undoubtedly hoped for somebody other than Ohio State in week one, but with the number of new receivers on the roster, maybe that’s the week to shock the college football world with an upset nobody expects.