The writing has been on the wall for a while but there was always hope that things would turn around in time, even if it was a fool’s hope. Unfortunately the Big 10 this afternoon announced it is moving to a conference-only schedule for this fall. Given that Michigan is a member of the Big 10 it means that the Wolverines are cancelling their road trip to Husky Stadium in what was scheduled to be the season opener.
The Big Ten is expected to announce today that it will go with a conference-only football schedule for this fall, a person with direct knowledge situation tells @TheAthleticCFB.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) July 9, 2020
We’ll see how this trickles down but it’s hard to imagine the rest of the Power 5 not following suit and essentially ending non-conference play for the season (there are already reports this is in the works). The Pac-12 in particular is affected by the Big 10’s decision as Washington hosting Michigan and Oregon hosting Ohio State were two of the biggest non-conference tilts on the schedule anywhere in the country. Both were intended to be home and home series and it would be fantastic if all the schools involved could find a way to make up for this loss in the future by pushing it back to a later date.
It’s also of course still very possible given the current struggles of the U.S to contain the COVID-19 pandemic that the entire season is also cancelled and so the loss of the UW-Michigan game feels tiny in comparison. But this is a game that Husky nation has been looking forward to for years and it is incredibly unfortunate that it won’t happen; at least in 2020.
If this does lead to the end of non-conference games it will be interesting to see whether the Pac-12 stays with their current conference schedule or if it tries to create more space in between games. As it currently stands the Huskies have a bye before traveling to Eugene to face the rival Oregon Ducks. Both teams would be breaking in a new starting quarterback but what a way to begin the year.
This is the first of what is almost certain to be many announcements related to scheduling changes for Washington football in the fall and we’ll keep you up to date as events happen.