Smith-Njigba hauls in over-the-shoulder catch.jpg

Jaxon Smith-Njigba hauls in an over-the-shoulder TD catch against Utah at the 2022 Rose Bowl.

The Big Ten announced tweaks to its 2022 Big Ten football schedule on Wednesday, and they will be welcome changes for Ohio State.

The Buckeyes will be highly-touted as usual, with quarterback C.J. Stroud a Heisman candidate, receiver Jaxon Smith-Njibga an All-American candidate, and sophomore TreVeyon Henderson among the most exciting running backs in the nation.

Getting to the college football playoffs will certainly be the goal, and one more attainable after this week's announcement.

C.J. Stroud awaits the snap at the Rose Bowl.jpg

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud awaits the snap as tackle Dawand Jones crouches into position at the 2022 Rose Bowl.

Alterations were made due to the changes necessitated by the abbreviated 2020 schedule. That situation was forced by the bizarre COVID-19 revisions, when the conference announced the slate, days later cancelled the season, then again reversed course to schedule a handful of games.

It was embarrassing to say the least, and the Big Ten still hasn't lived down the idiocy.

But looking ahead to next fall, the Buckeyes face a brutal regular-season slate that begins with a Sept. 3 home date vs. Notre Dame and ends with a Nov. 26 matchup against Michigan in Ohio Stadium.

Larry Phillips mug shot

Larry Phillips, Source Media Properties Managing Editor

Ohio State's lineup looks like this:

Sept. 3: Notre Dame

Sept. 10: Arkansas State

Sept. 17: Toledo

Sept 24: Wisconsin

Oct. 1: Rutgers

Oct. 8: at Michigan State

Oct. 15: Off

Oct. 22: Iowa

Oct. 29: at Penn State (Indiana)

Nov. 5: at Northwestern

Nov. 12: Indiana

Nov. 19: at Maryland

Nov. 26: Michigan

FBS Big Ten Schedule

That's a far more balanced slate than the original schedule, which had Ohio State beginning Big Ten play with road games at Michigan State and at Penn State on Sept. 24 and Oct. 1, respectively.

The revised version also includes a bye the week before the Oct. 22 Iowa game. The Hawkeyes will be coming off a bye too, but after six games played the respite comes exactly halfway through the season.

Ohio State's closing kick of at Northwestern, home for Indiana and at Maryland is more favorable than trading body shots with Wisconsin two weeks before Michigan rolls into town, which was part of the original schedule.

It's going to be a tremendous challenge navigating this slate any way you slice it.

Playing Notre Dame, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan in Ohio Stadium might be the most exciting and most difficult home schedule in school history.

Playing at Michigan State and at Penn State won't be easy, either.

But that won't lessen the expectations in Columbus, where the Buckeyes were listed as preseason No. 2 in a college football look-ahead this week by ESPN.

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I've lived in Richland Co. since 1990, married here, our children were born here. This is home. I have two books published on a passion topic, Ohio high school football. Others: Buckeyes, Cavs, Bengals, Reds, History, Disney.

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