It seems as if the wheels are in motion to play a college football season in some form or fashion as the coronavirus outbreak plateaus a bit. Still, the threat of a second wave persists and it has administrators across the country planning contingencies should there need to be changes made to the schedule.
As of now, it seems that the schedule — including the Michigan Wolverines’ season-opening trip to Washington — is on. Whether there are no fans or limited fans remains to be seen, but there at least seems to be optimism that everything can happen on time.
That said, there have been several alternate scenarios that have been thrown around. Chief among them is a Pac-12 proposal that would see those schools play an 11-game conference-only schedule. That would affect Michigan at Washington, but what if the Big Ten were to consider a plan like this?
What would be the benefit of this, you may ask? Well for one, it cuts down on travel. This helps to not only reduce costs, but also lessen the chance to either spread or contract COVID-19 by traveling across the country.
For Michigan, this means chopping out the first three games on the schedule. There would be no reason to head to Washington (perhaps they could reschedule the road game to a later year) and also have a team from Arkansas make the trip up north. Ball State is only coming from Muncie, Indiana, but winds up getting cut off due to a Big Ten-only schedule.
With an 11-game schedule, only two of these dates need to be replaced with the Big Ten teams. Michigan’s new season opener would see them taking on Illinois, who loses a home game against UConn for it. Michigan would lose a home game the following week by making a trip to Northwestern. The Wolverines sort of get shafted here given the last time they played the Wildcats it took place in Evanston. Given the alumni base in the Chicago area and the way they typically invade Ryan Field, this does not seem like it would be a big hangup. Northwestern is scheduled for a tilt with Central Michigan in this slot currently.
It would also be possible that the dates here slide up a week with reports that a lot of schools are looking to wrap up the academic calendar earlier so that when students go home for Thanksgiving, they stay home until the winter term begins instead of returning for another week or so.
2020 alternate timeline schedule
Sept. 5 at Washington
vs. Ball State vs. Illinois
vs. Arkansas State at Northwestern
Sept. 26 vs. Wisconsin
Oct. 3 vs. Penn State
Oct. 10 at Michigan State
Oct. 17 at Minnesota
Oct. 24 vs. Purdue (homecoming)
Oct. 31 — BYE
Nov. 7 vs. Maryland
Nov. 14 at Rutgers
Nov. 21 vs. Indiana
Nov. 28 at Ohio State
What would you think of this configuration if this is how it played out? Sound off in the comments below.