College Football

What You Need to Know: Big Ten Begins

October 23, 2020

The Big Ten is back!

Ahead of its debut, here's everything you need to know about the upcoming Big Ten season:

The Schedule

The season will include an eight-game, conference-only schedule in consecutive weeks beginning Friday, Oct. 23. 


The final week of the regular season is Dec. 12., prior to an additional "Champions Week" game for each team.

AP Poll

The SEC, Big 12 and ACC have already hit the field over the course of multiple weeks, but a few ranked Big Ten teams have patiently been waiting on the sidelines.

Ohio State was slotted inside the top five, with four more Big Ten squads featured in the top 25.

Games to Watch – Week 1

Nebraska at No. 5 Ohio State (-110)

The Cornhuskers travel to take on the defending Big Ten champion Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes and Cornhuskers match up for just the ninth time overall and seventh time since Nebraska joined the conference in 2011.

Ohio State has won seven of those eight game, including five in a row.

No. 18 Michigan at No. 21 Minnesota (-110)

Two top 25 teams in the conference will battle it out on opening weekend, when the No. 21 Golden Gophers play host to the No. 18 Wolverines.

This is the first time since 1968 that a ranked Minnesota team faces another ranked opponent to open the season.

Heading into the matchup, Michigan owns the rivalry trophy – the Little Brown Jug – and the Wolverines are riding a two-game winning streak against the Golden Gophers.

Michigan has won eight of the last 10 in the rivalry.

Stars to Watch

Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Last season, Justin Fields finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting, and he currently holds the third-best odds (+800).

Fields completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,273 yards and 41 touchdowns, with just three interceptions. He added 484 yards on the ground for 10 rushing touchdowns as well.

Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

As a freshman in 2018, Rondale Moore led the Big Ten in receptions (114), receiving yards (1,258), and finished tied for the most receiving touchdowns (12).

He also rushed for 213 yards on only 21 carries.

Moore was limited to just four games last year due to injuries, but in those four games, he caught 29 passes forr 387 yards and two touchdowns.

Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota 

Tanner Morgan broke 10 single-season school records, while throwing for 3,253 yards and 30 touchdowns last season.

In 2019, Morgan also led the Big Ten in passing yards per game (250.2) and yards per pass (6.7).

And, he can Dak.

Morgan's Heisman odds are +10000.

What About the Fans?

Fans will not be allowed to purchase tickets to Big Ten games. However, schools are permitting families of players and coaches to attend Big Ten contests.  

Rivalry Games

Michigan State at Michigan

The Paul Bunyan Trophy is on the line come Halloween.

Michigan leads the all-time series, 71-36-5, and the Wolverines have won three of four against the Spartans.

Ohio State at Penn State

Also taking place on Halloween, Ohio State will look for its fourth straight victory over Penn State, tying the longest win streak in the history of the rivalry.

The Nittany Lions' last win over the Buckeyes came back in 2016. You remember this:

Ohio State is 20-14 against Penn State all-time.

Minnesota at Wisconsin

Oct. 31 strikes again, as the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe takes place on the year's spookiest day as well.

All-time, Wisconsin leads the series 61-60-8, and has won 15 of the last 16 matchups.

Rivalry Week

The final weekend of the regular season features the biggest rivalry matchups across the conference.

Including, of course, this one:

Conference Champion Odds 

The Big Ten is set to play its conference championship in Indianapolis on Dec. 19, but in addition, each team from the Big Ten East will challenge an opponent from the Big Ten West based on their division standing.

Ohio State is favored to take home the Big Ten title (-300), with Wisconsin (+600) and Penn State (+650) landing in second and third, respectively.

College Football Playoff

The eight-game, eight-week Big Ten season, with a late October start date, will allow for the conference to finish the season and name a champion in time to be considered for a semifinal spot in the College Football Playoff.

Despite conferences beginning their fall football schedules at different times, the seventh season of the CFP will go on as planned.

Ohio State holds the best odds in the conference (+300), Penn State comes in second (+3000), followed by Wisconsin (+5000), Michigan (+6000) and Iowa State (+9000).

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