Athlon's expert panel debates the Big Ten game they will miss the most in 2020
The Big Ten's 2020 college football season for the fall has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the conference may pursue a spring season, the rosters could look different and alter how we view some teams and games. The Big Ten had a ton of intriguing matchups slated in non-conference play, including Wisconsin-Notre Dame, Ohio State at Oregon and Michigan at Washington. In conference action, the usual showdown between Michigan and Ohio State was a must-see contest, along with Ohio State at Penn State and Minnesota at Wisconsin.
With the Big Ten announcement of a canceled season, our experts at Athlon Sports discuss which game they will miss watching the most this fall:
Big Ten Football: Which Game Will You Miss the Most This Fall?
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
It's an easy pick for me: Ohio State at Penn State. In a normal year, seeing a packed stadium in Happy Valley at night would've been a great setting for this Big Ten clash. The battle between Ohio State's high-powered offense and quarterback Justin Fields against Penn State's defense led by linebacker Micah Parsons was easily one of the top matchups on the schedule. Additionally, I expected this game to have massive implications on the Big Ten title and playoff picture. If the Nittany Lions pulled off the upset, there's a good chance the Big Ten could've had two teams in the mix for a playoff bid at the end of the year. Unfortunately, we won't get to see this showdown in 2020. And there's also a good chance these two teams look a lot different by the time they meet in 2021.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
Ohio State at Oregon had already been taken out of circulation earlier in the process, and "The Game" hasn't been one for a while now (sorry, Michigan fans). And while Ohio State-Penn State would have been an extremely important and intriguing contest, I'll pick Minnesota at Wisconsin, which was originally scheduled for Oct. 10 and then moved to Sept. 26. The Badgers have had the Golden Gophers' number this century, winning 17 of the 20 matchups, including last year's 21-point road win. But P.J. Fleck has Minnesota trending in the right direction and this is the game that likely could have decided the Big Ten West.
Ben Weinrib (@benweinrib)
It's the obvious answer, but Ohio State at Penn State was the biggest game I was looking forward to this season. James Franklin had yet to get his team over the hump since coming to Happy Valley in 2014, but this looked like his best team yet. With an excellent defense led by Micah Parsons and an experienced quarterback with weapons at his disposal, these Nittany Lions looked like they had a chance at a Big Ten title and more. Penn State has given the Buckeyes fits at home recently — a one-point loss in 2018, a three-point win in 2016, and a seven-point loss in 2014 — and a big win could have propelled them to the College Football Playoff.
Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB)
The game of the year in the Big Ten, in its original schedule or even in its adjusted state, would have been Ohio State's road trip to Penn State. While not quite as notable as the storied rivalry Ohio State has with Michigan, the stakes have been incredibly high in this series. The path to a Big Ten East division title likely would have been determined in this game, not to mention the expected impact the result may have had in the College Football Playoff hunt.
Brandon Cavanaugh (@eightlaces)
I don't care when Ohio State-Michigan is played during the season, it's always circled on my calendar. Yes, it's the easy answer, but we all know the reasons behind that. How can you not embrace the classic blood feud fueled with animosity and hatred so thick that both schools won't offer the common courtesy of referring to each other by name?
J.P. Scott (@TheJPScott)
I'll miss the Ohio State vs. Penn State game the most. These were supposed to be the two most talented teams in the conference and two of the best in the country. Add in the backdrop of a White Out at Beaver Stadium, and a season without this game hurts that much more.
Chip Minnich (@ChipMinnich)
The Ohio State/Michigan game is a significant loss. It was already feeling awkward that "THE GAME" was moved to October, but to not have it this fall (and perhaps period) is going to be even worse.