Ohio State-Nebraska among Big Ten openers

Field Level Media

September 19, 2020 at 4:08 pm.

Preseason No. 2 Ohio State will open Big Ten play on Oct. 24 when it hosts Nebraska and conclude the shortened 2020 fall season on Dec. 12 at home against rival Michigan.

The Big Ten released the full schedule on Saturday, just days after conference leaders voted to reinstate the season for the fall. On Aug. 11, the conference announced football would be played in the spring, delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Other Week 1 games: Penn State at Indiana, Iowa at Purdue, Michigan at Minnesota, Rutgers at Michigan State, Illinois at Wisconsin, and Maryland at Northwestern.

The schedule reflects a slate of eight games without a bye week for each team, plus a ninth cross-division game to end the season based on seeding. Those games are scheduled to be played the same week as the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 19.

The tight timeline gives the conference no wiggle room to reschedule any games that might be called off because of COVID-19 positive tests in a program, which has proved to be an issue with some college teams already. On Friday, two games scheduled for Saturday — Baylor vs. Houston and Georgia Southern vs. FAU — were canceled because of positive tests.

The end of the Big Ten season coincides with the College Football Playoff committee’s timeline to announce the final rankings on Dec. 20. The top four teams advance to the playoff.

The preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll included six Big Ten teams: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 7 Penn State, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 16 Michigan, No. 19 Minnesota and No. 24 Iowa.

Other key games on the schedule include Ohio State at Penn State (Oct. 31), Michigan at Michigan State (Oct. 31), Iowa at Minnesota (Nov. 14), Penn State at Michigan (Nov. 28), Wisconsin at Minnesota (Nov. 28) and Wisconsin at Iowa (Dec. 12).