Ohio State released a revised football schedule Wednesday.
None of the Buckeyes’ opponents changed, but most of the Big Ten games on the schedule have a new date.
After nonconference games at home against Notre Dame, Arkansas State and Toledo, Ohio State will begin Big Ten play at home against Wisconsin on Sept. 24.
That was to be a trip to Michigan State.
After facing the Badgers, Ohio State will play Rutgers at home then go to Michigan State.
They will be off on Oct. 15 then play host to Iowa on Oct. 22 and go to Penn State on Oct. 29.
In November, Ohio State will play at Northwestern, host Indiana, go to Maryland and finish the regular season at home against Michigan.
The schedule was revised to account for changes to the 2020 schedule that was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What to know about the changes:
1. The new schedule could be a little easier to navigate.
The Buckeyes were looking at playing seven games before their week off, including as many as four against ranked teams — with two of those on the road.
Now the off week falls right in the middle of the season and between a trip to Michigan State and a home game against Iowa. That is extra recovery and preparation time that figures to be valuable, especially if the game in East Lansing is in prime time.
2. The Buckeyes were looking at back-to-back roadtrips to Michigan State and Penn State on Sept. 24-Oct. 1, but now they will be home both of those weeks (against Wisconsin and Rutgers) before going to East Lansing on Oct. 8.
Ohio State is still looking at a three-game stretch of at Michigan State, home against Iowa and at Penn State, but there is a week off in there as well.
Perhaps the changes do open up the trip to Northwestern on Nov. 5 — a week after what is usually a knockdown, drag-out at Penn State — to the potential of being a trap game.
3. The Wisconsin game being Sept. 24 is probably preferable to its original date — Nov. 12.
In the original schedule, Ohio State was to play the Badgers at home on Nov. 12 after a trip to Northwestern. Wisconsin is always a tough out, but the Badgers’ style typical lends itself to cold weather, so getting them in September could be a bit of a break for the Buckeyes.
The move also means Ohio State warms up for the Michigan game with three of the Buckeyes’ (likely) weakest opponents — Northwestern, Indiana and Maryland (on the road).
4. Throughout the league, the likely marquee matchups are more spread out in the schedule.
That includes Wisconsin-Ohio State on Sept. 24, Michigan-Iowa on Oct. 1, Ohio State-Michigan State on Oct. 8, Penn State-Michigan on Oct. 15 and Iowa-Ohio State on Oct. 22.
The last weekend of October will feature two major games as the Buckeyes play at Penn State and Michigan State plays at Michigan.
Nov. 5 does not have an obvious marquee game, but Wisconsin-Iowa should have big implications Nov. 12 and Iowa-Minnesota or Nebraska-Wisconsin could do it Nov. 19.
The final weekend of the regular season will have many of the league’s traditional rivalries, including Ohio State-Michigan and Wisconsin-Minnesota. Another game with potential to impact the top of the standings — Michigan State-Penn State — was moved to that weekend as well in the most recent schedule revision.
5. There could be more changes.
The Big Ten’s schedule announcement noted some games could still be moved to Thursday or Friday nights for television.
Ohio State opened on a Thursday night last year, but director of athletics Gene Smith indicated in an interview last summer that will not happen with the Buckeyes’ game against Notre Dame.
Sept. 3 Notre Dame
Sept. 10 Arkansas State
Sept. 17 Toledo
Sept. 24 Wisconsin
Oct. 1 Rutgers
Oct. 8 at Michigan State
Oc. 15 (off)
Oct. 22 Iowa
Oct. 29 at Penn State
Nov. 5 at Northwestern
Nov. 12 Indiana
Nov. 19 at Maryland
Nov. 26 Michigan