If the Michigan Wolverines play football this fall, they will do so by playing only teams in the Big Ten Conference. Schedules have yet to be released, but the theory is that the conference would look to somewhat front-load them with division games and build a buffer on each side of the schedule in a scenario where the season had to be shortened postponed.
There’s also buzz that there may not be a bye week and they would play ten weeks all the way through. For scheduling purposes, we have left it where it is for right now.
With that in mind, here’s a look at a schedule that might make sense under these circumstances. This is based purely on speculation and not built from any inside information.
Sept. 19 — at Minnesota
We’re going to kick off the first two weeks of the year with the biggest cross-division matchups for two reasons. The first is that it is still more than a buzzworthy enough way to start the year. The second is that if games have to be trimmed off the front and back half of the schedule, they are not of consequence in the East division race. This would give Michigan a trophy game to play for right out of the gate.
Sept. 26 — vs. Wisconsin
The same logic as above applies here and actually allows this game to stay where it was originally schedule.
Oct. 3 — at Ohio State
An early-season version of The Game? The purists would riot, but if there is any chance a season that starts could get delayed, the conference has to ensure one of its biggest games goes off. Some people think that it should open the season, but we’ve built a few weeks ahead of it just in case they decide to move forward with a delayed season.
Oct. 10 — vs. Penn State
This scenario sees Michigan cap off the start of the year with playing the four toughest teams on the schedule in the first four weeks of the season. Most people agree Ohio State is the team to beat in the conference, but the debate Michigan and Penn State as next-in-line gets settled on the field here.
Oct. 17 — at Michigan State
This game could be a candidate to open the season. However, given that the matchup won’t have the hype around it that it usually does because of a rebuilding MSU, it stays as a mid-season matchup.
Oct. 24 — vs. Indiana
Michigan was set for a Nov. 21 tilt with the Hoosiers, but the front-loading of divisional games sets the matchup a month earlier.
Oct. 31 — vs. Maryland
This game was scheduled for Nov. 7, but has been moved up without a bye week in this scenario.
Nov. 7 — at Rutgers
Michigan’s trip to Rutgers gets moved up a week, but still takes place later in the season to potentially allow for eased travel restrictions later in the season.
Nov. 14 — vs. Purdue
This was originally scheduled for homecoming on Oct. 24, but we moved it back to be the home finale.
Nov. 21 — at Illinois
Illinois is not on the currently schedule, but they will have to add a team to get to 10 games. It seems that it could either be Illinois or Iowa, so we chose the lesser of the two teams on the off chance the season has to be cut short early.
What do you think about how this shapes up? Sound off in the comments below.