For the first time in 87 years, The Game won't be played in November.
As part of the revised conference-only 2020 football schedule announced by the Big Ten on Wednesday, this year's game between Ohio State and Michigan will not be the final game of the regular season and will instead be played on Oct. 24 as the seventh game of a 10-game regular-season slate.
The move comes in an effort to increase the likelihood of The Game being played, as an earlier scheduled date gives Ohio State and Michigan more flexibility to reschedule the game if the season gets interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Game, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 28, will still be played at Ohio Stadium. It will be the first time Ohio State has played Michigan before the final week of the regular season since 1942, and the first time Ohio State will play Michigan in October since 1933. It's not quite the earliest the two teams have played, though; the Buckeyes and Wolverines played each other on Oct. 15 in 1904.
As a result of the newly scheduled date for The Game, the countdown clock in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center has been updated accordingly:
Former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer admitted that he does not love seeing the rivalry game moved from its traditional date, but acknowledged that tradition takes a back seat to practicality this year.
“The critical thing is player safety and trying to play the game,” Meyer said during an interview on BTN. “It is heartbreaking, to be honest with you, but adaptability, sacrifice are all going to be critical on everyone’s parts.”
In a college football season where nothing will be normal, Ohio State and Michigan have been forced to break from their tradition and play each other earlier in the season than usual. That's a concession the Buckeyes and Wolverines had to be willing to make this year, though, that will hopefully allow the 2020 rivalry game to be played as Ohio State looks for its ninth straight win over the team up north.