Big Ten releases football schedule, including new date for The Game

 CTSY: Associated Press
CTSY: Associated Press (WLUC)
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 9:14 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - Breaking with decades of tradition, football fans will now have a new weekend to watch The Game, at least for one season.

The Big Ten Conference released its 2020 football schedule, and the biggest news is the Ohio State-Michigan game, which will be played October 24 in Columbus.

The game had originally been scheduled for the final Saturday of the season, November 28. With the exception of three seasons, the game has been played on the final Saturday of the regular season every year since 1935.

The schedule only includes conference games for the 14 schools, with two open dates. Ohio State is scheduled to open its season Thursday, Sept. 3 at Illinois. The Buckeyes will play at Michigan State on Oct. 17 and at Penn State on Nov. 7. Ohio State will not face Wisconsin in 2020.

Michigan opens the 2020 schedule against Purdue on Sept. 5. The Wolverines host Penn State on Sept. 19 and Michigan State on Oct. 3. Michigan returns to Ann Arbor a week after playing at Ohio State to host Wisconsin on Oct. 31.

The conference cautioned there is no certainty games will be played. The Big Ten had announced a month ago it would shorten the season and eliminate nonconference games because of the coronavirus pandemic.

If the coronavirus situation dictates, the season could start Sept. 12, 19 or 26.

The Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis remains scheduled for Dec. 5 but could moved as late as Dec. 19.

The conference will allow teams to begin preseason practices Friday, or earlier if a team's season begins before Sept. 5.

Rutgers, Michigan State and Northwestern have shut down voluntary workouts because of COVID-19 outbreaks.

“In making this announcement, the Conference acknowledges that there is much work to be done on our campuses, in our communities and across the country to gain control of a virus that continues to spread at an alarming rate,” the conference said in a statement. “While the Conference remains hopeful for a September 2020 start in all fall sports, including football, issuing a schedule does not guarantee that competition will occur. While our strategy is to continue planning for all fall sports, if the virus continues to spread among our students despite our many preventative measures, including testing and quarantine protocols, we are also prepared to delay or cancel competition pursuant to local and state public health orders or the recommendations of our medical experts.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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