Since it was announced earlier this month that the Big Ten Conference would be playing conference-only games this fall, Michigan Wolverines fans have been giddy to see what the football schedule may now look like. It appears that the wait may not be all that much longer.
Both Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune and Tom Dienhart of Big Ten Network said on Thursday that the conference is set to announce its schedule in the near future with Dienhart going as far as to say that it could be done “maybe as soon as ‘next 24-48 hours,’” citing a Big Ten source. If it does not come out before the end of this week, early next week seems like the longer end of the timeline.
Big Ten source tells me Sept. 5 start date for Big Ten looks likely. That was original start date for the league. Schedule should be out soon, maybe as soon as "next 24-48 hours," per source.— Tom Dienhart (@TomDienhart1) July 30, 2020
The Big Ten is looking to start play on Sept. 5 and will reportedly have 3-5 open dates built into the 10-game schedule in case alterations have to be made due to the pandemic and coronavirus testing. The schedules are also expected to be front-loaded with divisional games so that the higher-stakes contests in the conference are gotten out of the way early.
For Michigan, it stands to reason that this might mean getting the dates with Ohio State, Penn State, Indiana and Michigan State might take place in the early portion of the announced slate. Maryland, Rutgers, Purdue, Wisconsin and Minnesota are also scheduled for this season. They will also need to fill one more date with a matchup from the Big Ten West with the two seemingly most likely schools being Illinois and Iowa, as we wrote earlier this month.
We thought it would be possible that the conference built a schedule with some games up front that potentially had lesser stakes, but they are giving themselves some wiggle room with the open dates they are set to have. We’ll have wait and see how the schedule shapes out — and of course if they actually wind up playing — but we are another step closer to football in theory.