Michigan and Ohio State closing the Big Ten football schedule was a Midwest tradition as sacred as lake house weekends in the summertime.
Leave it to 2020 to throw another wrench in long-held plans.
The game will move to Oct. 24 this fall, with the Wolverines visiting Columbus for what’s become their annual beatdown.
The teams have closed their Big Ten schedules with the rivalry battle every year since 1942, according to The Detroit News.
That’s not the only rivalry wrinkle on the slate for coach Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan football team, which is ranked No. 15 in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll, released Thursday.
UM will host Michigan State for the second straight season
Conference foes alternate home-and-home matchups each year.
However, in a course correction of sorts, Michigan will now host in-state rival Michigan State for a second straight season on Oct. 3.
On one hand, it seems like a bit of a payback for Michigan being forced to play two straight seasons in East Lansing in 2013 and 2014.
That past anomaly was caused by the Big Ten adding Rutgers and Maryland, splitting the conference into two divisions.
The new schedule always spreads the wealth for season-ticket holders for both schools.
Before, both teams would host their in-state rivals and Ohio State in the same season, marquee home games for fans. Of course, on alternate years, that means going on the road for both games.
The new arrangement divides the marquee schedule games and creates a more competitive balance each year.
Moving date of Ohio State game can only help
Michigan fans should be pleased with the Ohio State shakeup: Anything to disturb the current order.
Ohio State has won 15 of the last 16 between the rivals, including poundings to end the last two years.
Wolverine fans are frustrated. So are alums.
Former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer voiced his annoyance with Michigan being relegated to also-rans in a recent interview with PlayMichigan.
Perhaps moving the date, and giving OSU coach Ryan Day less time to game plan for Michigan, could help.
For U-M fans confident in a turnaround, mobile sports betting could be live statewide by kickoff, with October as a targeted launch.
Michigan State probably looking at rebuilding anyway
As for the Spartans, not much has changed with the new Big Ten-only schedule.
For one thing, first-year coach Mel Tucker and the Spartans had a crossover game at Nebraska added to the slate on Nov. 21.
Michigan State got some more bad news this week when defensive end Jacub Panasiuk announced he will sit out the season because of concerns about the coronavirus.
The standout says he plans to return to East Lansing in 2021 for his season with the Spartans.
Michigan State did not receive any votes in the preseason coaches poll. Tucker and Western Michigan coach Tim Lester vote in the poll.
Michigan State opens the season Sept. 5 against Minnesota at Spartan Stadium. Michigan is home that day against Purdue.
IF there is college football this season, of course.
Betting markets think Michigan’s ranking is about right
As for the gambling markets, the No. 15 ranking appears to be about right, according to oddsmakers.
As of Thursday, no major operators have announced updated win totals after Wednesday’s Big Ten schedule release.
FanDuel Sportsbook has Michigan at +6,000 to win the national championship, tied for the 16th-best odds with Minnesota. Michigan State is at +25,000, tied for 41st with 10 other teams.
DraftKings Sportsbook has Michigan at +1,000 to win the Big Ten, fourth in the conference behind Ohio State (-230), Penn State (+400), and Wisconsin (+700). Michigan State is tied for ninth at +8,000.
Michigan sports fans can bet now at the Greektown Casino Sportsbook, which has a Bet Builder feature on the website, though the actual bet needs to be placed in-person in downtown Detroit.
Thursday afternoon, the Kambi system was offering Michigan at +8,000 to win the national championship, tied for 14th overall. Michigan is +1,000 to win the Big Ten, and Michigan State is +8,000.