The Ohio State football team is preparing for an unprecedented CFB season. Playing a conference-only schedule, the Buckeyes could have a showdown in September.
There is much uncertainty regarding the scheduling of the 2020 college football season and whether or not all the games will be able to be played. For the Ohio State football team, the Big Ten elected to play a conference-only slate in early July which canceled a week two showdown in Eugene against Oregon.
In addition to losing the Buckeyes vs. Ducks, Michigan visiting Washington was also canceled as well as Wisconsin and Notre Dame playing in Lambeau. Speculation has gone around on how the Big Ten conference will re-align the schedules for the upcoming season.
Having to lose marquee matchups early in the season, it is very well possible the conference will reschedule one of its major games to September to replace one of the big games lost.
An obvious choice to fulfill that void is Ohio State vs. Penn State. It’s arguably the premier matchup of the season for the conference in terms of playoff implications and will undoubtedly bring huge ratings in primetime.
Selfishly, Ohio State fans may be in immediate favor of playing Penn State earlier as the game is being played in Happy Valley. There is uncertainty for crowd capacity and no guarantee it will increase as the season moves along, so facing the Nittany Lions in a Whiteout atmosphere will be far less intimidating with a reduced capacity crowd.
The Buckeyes would actually be able to hear themselves think for once in one of the most hostile environments in sports. Even without the matchup being moved up, a reduced capacity crowd poses a huge advantage for Ohio State in comparison to normal conditions.
Personally, I think it makes sense to move the game to September, or at least schedule one between two of the conference’s alphas. The Buckeyes have won the Big Ten three years in a row and always have the eyes of the country on them, so giving Ryan Day and Justin Fields a test early seems fitting.
Scheduling the game in September will also all but guarantee it gets played to give the conference the opportunity to see two of its heavyweights square off and bring high ratings and increased revenue to offset some of the losses the pandemic has caused.
The Big Ten has to find some creative way to restructure its schedule and continue competing with the other major conferences, some of whom have not yet elected to play a conference-only schedule.
Moving a game with CFP implications to September makes sense and the Buckeyes visiting Happy Valley appears to be the perfect answer.