COLUMBUS — The new plan for Ohio State has arrived.
The blueprint remains tentative, of course, and the Big Ten is clearly leaving room for movement in a schedule that was designed to provide flexibility for the conference. But the Buckeyes at least now know who they are supposed to play this fall — and when the league would ideally like those matchups to happen.
In a hotly-anticipated release on Wednesday morning, the Big Ten confirmed it’s conference-only, 10-game schedule. Ohio State will play every team in the East Division like usual, it will play four games against the West — and will now open the season on Sept. 3 at Illinois.
“As weâ€™ve talked about our planning principles, first and foremost is health and safety of the student athletes,â€ Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said last this month. â€œThen itâ€™s flexibility and control. With our conference games being able to move up into September, that allows us the opportunity to create flexibility and handle disruptions.
â€œNow we can say to ourselves: How do we want to play? â€¦ We can be nimble and we can adjust.â€
The league has already done that, eliminating non-conference games last month before taking its time to nail down how it wants to proceed in these unprecedented times.
But the Big Ten has now settled on the next step, while also acknowledging that more disruptions remains possible since positive tests are almost certainly inevitable once the season starts. The players are aware of that risk as well, but Buckeyes captain Josh Myers made it clear he wants to the option to play this season any way possible.
“I think my level of comfort in our safety is really high,” Myers said on Tuesday. “Thereâ€™s nothing more that our coaches and trainers and staff at Ohio State can do to keep us safe. I canâ€™t say enough about what theyâ€™re doing, and I would say that my level of concern of safety is small â€” Iâ€™m not concerned.
â€œI personally am confident that weâ€™re going to have a season, and I really wanted to say that with restaurants being open, bars open, other places that are open where people have the freedom to do the things they want to do â€” which really are probably minuscule in the importance of their lives â€” I just feel like if people our age can do those types of things, then I strongly feel like that if I want to, I should have the choice to play a college football season.”
The Big Ten is giving the league a chance, and here’s how that opportunity is expected to look for the Ohio State Buckeyes:
Sept. 3 at Illinois
Sept. 12 vs. Rutgers
Sept. 19 at Purdue
Sept. 26 vs. Indiana
Oct. 3 Off
Oct. 10 vs. Nebraska
Oct. 17 at Michigan State
Oct. 24 vs. Michigan
Oct. 31 at Maryland
Nov. 7 at Penn State
Nov. 14 Off
Nov. 21 vs. Iowa
Nov. 28 Off
Dec. 5 Big Ten Championship Game
Lettermen Row will have more coverage of the updated, Big Ten-only schedule for Ohio State coming, including more breakdowns on the YouTube channel. Stick around for moreÂ analysis of what’s in store for the Buckeyes this season under this format.