The 2020 college football season has been defined by the unusual due to its happening amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the season has taken its most unusual of turns, as perhaps the sport’s greatest rivalry game will not be played for the first time since 1917.
According to a statement released by the University of Michigan, this weekend’s matchup against Ohio State will not be played due to an uptick of COVID-19 cases in Ann Arbor. It marks the second weekend in a row that the Wolverines will not be able to take the field due to the internal spread of the pandemic, as the team’s game against Maryland last week was also canceled.
The Michigan-Ohio State game has been officially cancelled. Michigan announced an increase in COVID cases this week.
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) December 8, 2020
In a statement, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel called this “disappointing for our team and coaches,” but stressed that the university’s No. 1 priority is making sure everyone is able to remain healthy. The statement also clarified that Michigan intends on playing as soon as it is cleared by health officials.
Official: 'The Game' is not happening this year pic.twitter.com/udq2QzzMQu
— Orion Sang (@orion_sang) December 8, 2020
The Buckeyes had previously won eight games in a row in this series, including a 56-27 victory over the Wolverines last weekend. This year, Michigan was set to travel to Columbus to take on fourth-ranked Ohio State, and it is unclear if the Buckeyes will canvas the college football landscape with the hopes of finding a replacement game to help bolster its resume for the College Football Playoff selection committee. In an added twist, this should mean that the Buckeyes are ineligible for the Big Ten Championship Game next weekend, as the conference’s guidelines state that teams must play five games in order to participate, but there have been rumblings that this rule could be changed. If not, the Indiana Hoosiers would earn the distinction of participating in the game.