Ohio State is set to play at Oregon this season on September 12 and it is looking like there will be massive reduction of fans in attendance when — or if — the two teams kickoff in Autzen Stadium.
On Thursday, Oregon governor Kate Brown announced that the ban on crowds will last at least through September.
“There is some difficult news to share. Large gatherings, including live sporting events with audiences, concerts, festivals, and conventions will not be able to return until we have a reliable treatment or prevention like a vaccine,” Brown said.
“The Oregon Health Authority is advising that any large gathering, at least through September, should be canceled or significantly modified.”
Autzen Stadium normally seats 54,000 people and is arguably the most raucous environment in west coast college football. Having a home-and-home with Ohio State was supposed to give the Ducks one of their biggest non-conference home games of all-time. That may still happen, but most people will be watching it from home.
There have been many models discussed for the coming college football season, including cutting out the non-conference schedule entirely. If that did happen, it could be expected that Oregon and Ohio State would try to reschedule the meeting in Eugene well down the road.
The Buckeyes’ next open slate on their non-conference schedule is in 2024, but they are already playing at Washington that year and OSU’s budget doesn’t like having two road non-conference games. With that in mind, there are openings in both 2028 and 2029 that could work, for Ohio State at least.
The Buckeyes open the 2020 season at home against Bowling Green before heading to Oregon for week two. The Ducks, meanwhile, will be opening their season against North Dakota State and top quarterback Trey Lance. Lance threw for 2,786 yards with 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions last year as a redshirt freshman. He also rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns.