The 2021 Ohio State football schedule has been revamped.
The Big Ten announced Friday afternoon numerous changes to schedules throughout the league, including a shuffling of dates and opponents.
The Buckeyes will play all the same teams they were originally scheduled to play, and they will make the same road trips.
However, the order of teams on the schedules has changed.
Most notably, Ohio State’s home game against Penn State was moved from late November to Oct. 30.
The Buckeyes were to play the Nittany Lions one week before Ohio State travels to Michigan. Instead, Michigan State will be Ohio State’s penultimate opponent.
Michigan is still the regular season finale, and The Game is still scheduled to be played in Ann Arbor despite the 2020 edition that was set for Columbus being canceled because of Michigan’s COVID-19 situation at the time.
Ohio State is still set to start the season at Minnesota on Sept. 2, a Thursday night.
The Buckeyes’ three-game nonconference slate is also unchanged. They play Oregon, Tulsa and Akron all at home on Sept. 11, 18 and 25.
The second conference game now will be at Rutgers on Oct. 2. That was originally set to be a trip to Nebraska.
Ohio State will play host to Maryland (instead of Purdue) on Oct. 9 then have a week off (as previously scheduled).
The Buckeyes will go to Indiana on Oct. 23 (instead of Rutgers) then play host to Penn State to end the month.
On Nov. 6, Ohio State goes to Nebraska (instead of Indiana). A week later, the Buckeyes host Purdue (instead of Maryland). Then they play the home finale against Michigan State before heading north to face Michigan.
The Big Ten Championship game is scheduled to be played Dec. 4 in Indianapolis.
The changes were made necessary by the unusual nature of the 2020 Big Ten season.
The initial schedule was set years ago but redone twice in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
After first saying it would play only conference games — and 10 of them instead of the usual nine — the league postponed the season last August.
It came back intending to play a nine-week slate, but that was also disrupted by COVID-19 cases causing games to be canceled throughout the week.
Ohio State played only six conference games, including the championship against Northwestern, after games against Maryland, Illinois and Michigan were all canceled.
This year, the location of six games has been changed to account for the impact of last season.
Those include the Michigan-Michigan State game being moved to East Lansing, which means the Wolverines no longer have to play both the Spartans and Buckeyes on the road every other year.
In other changes made to the 2021 schedule, Indiana will to Michigan and play host to Michigan State rather than vice versa, as originally scheduled, while Purdue-Wisconsin has moved to West Lafayette. Nebraska now has a home game against Purdue but must play at Wisconsin.
Ohio State-Minnesota figures to be the marquee matchup of the first full week of the season along with Penn State at Wisconsin.
In Week 5, Michigan at Wisconsin and Indiana at Penn State will take center stage, while Week 6 should feature Penn State at Iowa.
In Week 9, Wisconsin and Iowa face off for the Floyd of Rosedale trophy and perhaps control of the Big Ten West race. What could be the game of the year in the East — OSU-PSU — is also that weekend.
Week 10 likely will feature Iowa at Northwestern and Indiana at Michigan while Week 11 has Northwestern at Wisconsin in a matchup of the last two Big Ten West champions. Michigan’s trip to Penn State could also be a big one that week if the Wolverines and Nittany Lions right their ships after disastrous 2020 seasons.
2021 Ohio State football schedule (originally scheduled opponent)
- Sept. 2 – at Minnesota
- Sept. 11 – Oregon
- Sept. 18 – Tulsa
- Sept. 25 – Akron
- Oct. 2 – at Rutgers (at Nebraska)
- Oct. 9 – Maryland (Purdue)
- Oct. 16 – Open
- Oct. 23 – at Indiana (at Rutgers)
- Oct. 30 – Penn State (Michigan State)
- Nov. 6 – at Nebraska (at Indiana)
- Nov. 13 – Purdue (Maryland)
- Nov. 20 – Michigan State (Penn State)
- Nov. 27 – at Michigan
- Dec. 4 – Big Ten Championship Game