Ohio State-Michigan rivalry game may be played earlier in season due to coronavirus concerns

Sports

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – NOVEMBER 30: J.K. Dobbins #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes dives for a fourth quarter touchdown past Josh Metellus #14 of the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Beat ❌ichigan week may happen earlier this year.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Ohio State Buckeyes may face off against the Michigan Wolverines in early autumn this season due to the Big Ten’s recent decision to move to a conference-only schedule for football this fall while schools try to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

This conference-only schedule will be for all fall sports, not just football. However, the decision could drastically change the Buckeyes’ slate, including moving the date of their biggest rivalry game.

Earlier this month, OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith told the Dispatch that administrators are considering frontloading athletic schedules with divisional matchups and prioritizing the most important games.

This could result in OSU and Michigan facing off earlier in the year, breaking the longstanding tradition of meeting in November for “The Game.”

Since 1935, the teams have almost exclusively faced off on the final weekend of the regular season. This date usually falls on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

Now, it is very possible the teams could play in September or October as an early-season match would ensure a higher probability that “The Game” continues for a 103rd consecutive season.

It is not unprecedented for the rivalry match to occur in early fall, the newspaper reports. This just hasn’t happened since 1933.

In fact, 21 of the first 30 meetings between the Buckeyes and Wolverines were held in October. Although no OSU vs. Michigan match has been played earlier than October 15.

Meantime, Ohio State’s 2020 football schedule remains pending. The Buckeyes were originally scheduled to start their season in Columbus against the Bowling Green Falcons on Sept. 5. Then they were to travel to Oregon to face the Ducks on Sept. 12 before hosting Buffalo on Sept. 19. However, those first three matchups have already been canceled. The remainder of the season is “to be announced.”

Click here for the latest look at OSU’s 2020 football schedule.

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