The Big Ten has unveiled the latest iteration of their fall football schedule — fingers crossed that the third time is the charm — with an eight-game slate that culminates in the Big Ten Championship on Saturday, Dec. 19. The 12 teams not participating in the title game will all get an additional division crossover game to be played on that same Saturday, pitting the No. 2 team in the West vs the No. 2 team in the East and so on and so forth (unless any two teams matched up based on the standings already played once during the regular season).
Here is the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ new fall schedule:
Week 1 (Oct. 24): Michigan
Week 2 (Oct. 31): @ Maryland
Week 3 (Nov. 7): @ Illinois
Week 4 (Nov. 14): Iowa
Week 5 (Nov. 21): Purdue
Week 6 (Nov. 28): @ Wisconsin
Week 7 (Dec. 5): Northwestern
Week 8 (Dec. 12): @ Nebraska
And here is the complete Big Ten schedule:
The Big Ten Conference announced today the schedule for the 2020 football season, including an eight-game Conference-only schedule starting the weekend of October 24 plus a ninth game for all 14 teams during a newly created Big Ten Champions Week the weekend of December 19. pic.twitter.com/jaDXMhh2C8— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) September 19, 2020
It is unclear how the conference will handle postponements, since the Oct. 24 start date means nine games in nine weeks with no bye weeks. There have already been more than a dozen games postponed during the first three weeks of the season, including a Week 3 non-conference matchup between Baylor and Houston that was scheduled a week ago after Houston’s original Week 3 opponent, Memphis, was forced to cancel. Baylor was forced to back out after one position group fell below the minimum threshold of available players as required by the Big 12.
The Big Ten’s current policy states that a program with a team positivity rate, based on a rolling seven-day average, greater than 5% must stop practice and competition for a minimum of seven days. Additionally, any student-athlete who tests positive for COVID-19 cannot return to competition for at least 21 days after their initial diagnosis.
It is possible the Big Ten may simply cancel a game if either team is unable to participate, or consider it a forfeiture on behalf of the team that is forced out of competition.