The Big Ten's 2020 schedule is going to look a lot different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, the conference decided it would play only league contests for 2020 and eliminate non-conference games. The Big Ten had several marquee non-conference matchups slated, including Ohio State at Oregon, Wisconsin-Notre Dame at Lambeau Field and Michigan at Washington in Week 1. All of those matchups are canceled for 2020 but some will return in the future. The Big Ten plans on playing 10 conference games, but the COVID-19 pandemic could create more changes in the coming months. The 2020 college football season is going to look a lot different, and the Big Ten's decision to cancel non-conference games is likely the first in a long line of dominoes to fall.
Which non-conference games will fans miss the most in 2020? Here are 10 from the Big Ten we really wanted to see:
Big Ten Football: 10 Canceled Games Fans Will Miss in 2020
1. Ohio State at Oregon (Sept. 12)
The Buckeyes versus Ducks showdown in Eugene was slated to be one of the most anticipated non-conference games of 2020. The battle between Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and the Oregon defense was a must-see matchup. These two teams are slated to play again in 2021 in Columbus.
2. Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame (Oct. 3, Lambeau Field)
In addition to the quality on-field matchup, the atmosphere in Lambeau Field made this a great setting for the clash between the Badgers and Fighting Irish. Instead, we will have to settle for a meeting in 2021 slated to take place at Soldier Field.
3. Michigan at Washington (Sept. 5)
This opener in Seattle had all of the makings for an intriguing Week 1 affair. Michigan’s quarterback battle between Joe Milton and Dylan McCaffrey was slated to extend deep into fall practice, with the winner drawing the opportunity to face one of the nation’s top defenses. This matchup also marked the debut for new Washington coach Jimmy Lake and the beginning of the post-Chris Petersen era in Seattle. The Wolverines and Huskies are scheduled to play on Sept. 11, 2021 in Ann Arbor.
4. Iowa State at Iowa (Sept. 12)
The Cyclones and Hawkeyes have met every year since 1977. The Cy-Hawk Trophy will be awarded for their annual matchup in 2021, but not seeing Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy try to end a five-game losing streak for his program against Iowa is a loss for college football fans.
5. Penn State at Virginia Tech (Sept. 12)
The 2020 meeting between the Nittany Lions and Hokies was the first time these two teams were slated to meet on the gridiron. Barring this game being rescheduled, Penn State and Virginia Tech now won’t meet until 2025.
6. Cincinnati vs. Nebraska (Sept. 26)
The chess match between Cincinnati’s standout defense against Nebraska’s offense and quarterback Adrian Martinez was appealing. Also, this game could’ve been instrumental in boosting (or hurting) the Bearcats’ chances of being the top Group of 5 team in the final rankings.
7. Appalachian State at Wisconsin (Sept. 19)
Appalachian State knocked off two Power 5 teams last season — South Carolina and North Carolina — so this was no easy non-conference game for Wisconsin. The Badgers could’ve used a couple of non-conference matchups to let quarterback Jack Coan work with a revamped group of receivers, along with figuring out the running back rotation without Jonathan Taylor.
8. Miami at Michigan State (Sept. 26)
This late-September clash would’ve been a good barometer for both teams. Michigan State’s offense entered the season as a major question mark under new coach Mel Tucker, and its revamped defense would be tested against a talented Miami offense led by transfer quarterback D’Eriq King.
9. BYU at Minnesota (Sept. 26)
BYU was slated to play two Big Ten opponents — Minnesota and Michigan State — and if other conferences follow with a league-only slate, the Cougars will have some major holes to fill on their 2020 schedule. The Golden Gophers are slated to travel to Provo in 2025.
10. Memphis at Purdue (Sept. 12)
With two prolific offenses in place, this one had the potential to be a high-scoring matchup. Additionally, the college football world won’t get to see Purdue receiver Rondale Moore and Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell match big-play ability.
Other Key Games Canceled
Indiana vs. WKU (Sept. 12)
Michigan State at BYU (Sept. 12)
Maryland at West Virginia (Sept. 19)
Air Force at Purdue (Sept. 19)
Purdue at Boston College (Sept. 26)
Buffalo at Ohio State (Sept. 26)