As college football scrambles to find a new normal in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, nothing will be sacred any more, including the storied Michigan-Ohio State rivalry.

For years, the Big Ten showdown between Michigan and Ohio State, known simply as 'The Game', always concluded the regular season the Saturday after Thanksgiving. But this year everything is different.

But this year, schedule makers in the conference say things may be shifted to put some of the more important games earlier in the season.

In a report in Sunday's Columbus Dispatch, Big 10 officials have indicated you may see an earlier showdown for the two East Division rivals in 2020.

Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith had indicated earlier this month that moving up key conference games will ensure that they get played, which is an ominous decision, if it's made, because it shows a belief that the season may be stopped at some point due to the virus.

“I don’t think it’d bother the rivalry very much,” Ohio State Football Historian Jack Park told the Dispatch, “because I think everybody would look at it as a temporary thing and it’s being done for the right reasons: to have a much better chance of playing the game rather than waiting until the last weekend of November when there’s maybe a greater chance we wouldn’t be playing football.

“In my opinion, I’d rather see it played in September if there’s a greater chance of it being played.”

This year's game is currently scheduled for November 28 in Columbus.

The Big 10 made the decision recently that they would only play Conference games because of the virus, meaning schools would only play nine games instead of 12. That may mean moving late season games up to earlier in the season would conclude the season quicker.

The game has concluded the Big 10 schedule for the schools since 1935, however, prior to that, the game has been played earlier in the season, but even then it was usually after October 15.

In the late '60s into the early '70s, the game usually decided the Big 10 title and who went to the Rose Bowl.







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