Ohio State and Michigan Need to Play Their Unique October Matchup Under the Lights This Fall

By David Regimbal on August 6, 2020 at 10:10 am
Ohio Stadium under the lights
© Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

I've been on this stage before and will likely appear on this stage again, but let's get some housecleaning out of the way first: This #HotTake is mine alone and does not necessarily represent the collective opinion or views of Eleven Warriors.

Now that we're clear, let me preface my argument with this. 2020 suuuuuuuuuucks — but on one early evening on October 24, for one blissful star-kissed night, it doesn't have to be that way.

We could all have something only a portion of us have experienced exactly once during our coherent-of-football lives — a matchup between college football's greatest rivals that finishes under the lights.

That matchup came in 2006, and on that night it was historic and perfect and amazing for so many reasons, but one of those reasons was because Ohio State was able to capture one of the series' most signature victories under the darkness of night.

There's an aura that exists around night games. It's why Ryan Day and Urban Meyer and every coach with a whisper of sense use their programs' night games as their top recruiting weekends. 

The energy is bigger. The stakes are higher. The stage somehow feels ironically brighter. 

Night games just rule. And it's time to put Ohio State and Michigan on that stage.

As previously mentioned, I've made this argument before. The fact that Ohio State and Michigan play each other at noon every year — for the sake of tradition — is extremely dumb and bad, and will continue to be dumb and bad until our decision makers grow up and do what's best for each program.

From the article above:

Giving Ohio State and Michigan the nooner treatment feels so inherently anti-climatic...  Imagine if Led Zeppelin wrote Stairway to Heaven as a three-minute, acoustic-guitar only lullaby. That's basically what the Ohio State and Michigan administrations do to us. They rewrite Stairway to Heaven as a lullaby every single year.

But Ohio State has a unique opportunity (and out) to do the right thing this year.

The coronavirus pandemic has greatly altered so many aspects of our lives, and its impact on college football was reinforced when the Big Ten released its 10-game, conference-only schedule for the 2020 season.

As our own Dan Hope pointed out when the new schedule was released on Wednesday, it'll be the first time Ohio State and Michigan face off against each before the final week of the regular season since World War II.

It's safe to assume that when Michigan makes the 185 mile trip south to Columbus this October, it'll invade Ohio Stadium without any fans (or optimistically, 20,000 fans) with very little tailgating taking place pregame. 

All the traditional aspects tied to the Ohio State - Michigan matchup have flown out the window. Why can't the very bad noon start take a hike as well?

Fox Network has the broadcasting rights to this game. On the weekend before Halloween, the Buckeyes and Wolverines are scheduled to kick off while Major League Baseball's World Series takes place.

The network could move the Ohio State - Michigan matchup from noon to 3:30 and dominate the evening viewing stretch with a blended showcase of high-level college football and MLB's grandest stage.

2020 is the worst, but for one night, it could all change. Please, Ohio State and Michigan, we need this. 

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