Big Ten Football Releases 10-Game Schedule for 2020 Season

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2020

The Big Ten logo decorates the grass at Beaver Stadium before an NCAA college football game between Penn State and Buffalo in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Barry Reeger/Associated Press

The Big Ten announced its complete 10-game, conference-only schedule for the 2020 college football season Wednesday.

Week 1 will kick off Sept. 5, and the regular season runs through Nov. 21. The Big Ten Championship Game is set for Dec. 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Big Ten Conference @bigten

The football schedule starts as early as the weekend of Sept. 5 with final games slated for Nov. 21 to align with academic calendars. The Big Ten Football Championship Game remains scheduled for Dec. 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium, though it could be moved as late as Dec. 19. https://t.co/vWp3OSifBc

The Big Ten also provided a statement saying the schedule release "does not guarantee that competition will occur:"

"In making this announcement, the Conference acknowledges that there is much work to be done on our campuses, in our communities and across the country to gain control of a virus that continues to spread at an alarming rate. While the Conference remains hopeful for a September 2020 start in all fall sports, including football, issuing a schedule does not guarantee that competition will occur. While our strategy is to continue planning for all fall sports, if the virus continues to spread among our students despite our many preventative measures, including testing and quarantine protocols, we are also prepared to delay or cancel competition pursuant to local and state public health orders or the recommendations of our medical experts.

"As Commissioner Kevin Warren has consistently stated, our country is navigating unprecedented times and throughout all decisions, the health and safety of our students, student-athletes, and everyone associated with our Big Ten university communities remains our primary focus as we work with our institutions to provide a healthy and productive learning environment that includes intercollegiate athletic competition."

The conference confirmed football practices may begin Friday and noted the schedule was created to "maximize flexibility," with two open dates per team and a uniform bye in Week 12 to accommodate potential postponements. In addition, games may be "collapsed into bye weeks."

COVID-19 testing will occur at least twice per week for student-athletes involved in high-contact sports like football. Players can also opt out of the 2020 season without losing their scholarship or their standing at their respective school.

 Warren said: 

"Developing consistent medical protocols and testing procedures for the health and safety of our student-athletes and our athletic programs is critical. Our Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and local, state, and national experts have provided guidelines throughout our decision-making process with our student athletes' health and safety as our first and foremost concern."

The other Power Five conferences have also decided on their plans for the 2020 season. The Pac-12 and SEC are utilizing conference-only schedules, while the Big 12 and ACC will allow a single slot for nonconference opponents. The ACC is set for 11 games while the others will play 10.

Caesars Palace lists Ohio State as the prohibitive favorite (-175) to win the Big Ten title, and the Buckeyes are also one of the top national championship contenders.