Big Ten to begin October 24th!!! Top 3 Most Anticipated Matchups in 2020!!
Today College Football took one more step toward complete normalcy when it announced that the BIG 10 would begin its season the weekend of October 24th with an eight or nine-game (still to be decided) all-conference season. Sponsors and networks have to be rejoicing this morning to have a major conference back, which in turn results in bringing back 14 teams and their fan bases that are eager to watch their teams contend for the College Football Playoffs.
7 highly important and equally competitive matchups every week is the plan, and while the schedule is yet to be decided let’s take a look at the Top 5 most anticipated matchups in the Big 10 which we will see kick off from October 24th and culminating with an early Christmas present for college football fans, the Big 10 Championship game on December 19th.
1.) OHIO STATE VS PENN STATE
Last year’s matchup was a Top 10 affair with The Buckeyes ranked #2 while Penn State was sitting at #10. Ohio State got the better of the previous matchup 28-17 and dashed the playoff hopes for a really good Nittany Lion squad that finished the season 11-2. It’s highly possible the winner of their matchup this year will again be extremely important and likely to determine a playoff spot.
Penn State will look to avenge last year’s loss behind a top 3 defensive unit that’s depth will help them remain a top defense. That defense is anchored by star defensive end Shaka Toney. Sean Clifford will be the returning starter at QB and while he’ll be without now Denver Bronco KJ Hamler who led the team the past 2 seasons he WILL still have a big weapon and a guy who many view as the nations best tight end, Pat Freiermuth.
Ohio State’s Heisman Finalist shoo-in Justin Fields had 256 total yards and 2 scores in the last meeting but ultimately fell short of both him and his team’s final goal when they lost to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal game. Fields will be the most dangerous player and most sought after NFL prospect on any field he lines up on this season and looks to play a huge factor in this game when they line up again this year. Gone is running back JK Dobbins but Ryan Day is happy to have WR Chris Olave back in his offense. Olave, who led the receiving core with 12 touchdown catches a season ago, looks to be an absolute nightmare matchup for cornerbacks and a deep ball threat at averaging over 17 and a half yards per reception.
2.) Michigan vs Ohio State
One of the oldest and fiercest rivalries in sports will see the Wolverines try once more to end their recent struggles against the Buckeyes. A College Football Championship favorite like Ohio State can’t afford many losses en route to another consecutive trip to the playoffs which makes this year’s game all that more important in a shortened season. You can bet Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh, who has NEVER BEATEN OHIO STATE in his tenure, is dead set on trying to break a 9-year losing streak against their rivals in 2020.
Replacing Shea Patterson who felt like he played QB for 10 years at Michigan is definitely a focal point in 2020. This year’s Wolverine squad is a team of mystery and much of their fate will depend on how they utilize what many think is going to be a 2 QB system with both a mobile and a traditional quarterback respectively in Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton. Top returning WR Nico Collins will do his best to help out the most inexperienced QB’s along with a duo of running backs with Hassan Haskins and Zach Charbonnet back for 2020 to run behind an offensive line that had to replace 4 of 5 starters (yikes). Defensively they bring back two stud defensive ends in Kwity Paye, a projected NFL draft pick who decided to return for his final season in Ann Arbor, and Aidan Hutchinson.
3.) Iowa vs Wisconsin
This is a battle of the two next best teams in the conference after Ohio State and Penn State, and this matchup may prove what team should be considered among those names. With possible huge games against Penn State and Ohio State, this is one that Wisconsin needs BADLY.
Coming off yet another Rose Bowl appearance Wisconsin again will look to be a Top 15 team. Badgers have propelled themselves over the last decade as a team to be considered for the BIG 10 Championship game every single year. They seem to end the runs of good teams in their conference in the past and have been producing NFL first-round picks and Rose Bowl appearances in their sleep, but they’ve yet to win the Conference Championship. The Badgers are hoping to make it back to the title game after last appearing and losing to Ohio State in both 2017 and 2019 will bring back Jack Coan at quarterback who had a slightly above average first season as QB1 but it will be TOUGH to replace now Indianapolis Colt running back Jonathan Taylor who racked up 2,255 total yards and 26 touchdowns and his 346 touches.
Iowa also has big shoes to fill with Nate Stanley leaving for the NFL as well as dominating Hawkeye 13th overall pick OT Tristan Wirfs. This year’s Iowa team will have to rely on the run game which is a staple for them and on the other side of the ball experienced core of linebackers and rising star Chauncey Golston at defensive end to keep the Hawkeyes in contention in what looks to be a loaded conference in 2020.
Ohio State vs Wisconsin
Iowa vs Minnesota
Penn State vs Michigan