Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Big Ten football season kicks off tonight after months of a "will they, won't they" narrative.

The state of play: Each team will play eight regular season games, culminating in a ninth, cross-divisional matchup on Dec. 19 (i.e. the Big Ten Championship, but also No. 2 East vs. No. 2 West, etc.).

  • Because of the late start, the season is not only condensed but also has no open calendar slots. So any COVID-related postponement will likely result in cancellation and the game will be declared "no contest."
  • Thus far, 10.6% of games nationally have been postponed. If that holds, six Big Ten games will be lost, and cancellations for playoff contenders will be particularly damaging.

Friday night lights: The Big Ten joins the Pac-12 and Mountain West as conferences regularly scheduling Friday games this fall.

  • Tonight: Illinois at No. 14 Wisconsin (8pm ET, BTN).
  • Tomorrow: Nebraska at No. 5 Ohio State; Rutgers at Michigan State; No. 8 Penn State at Indiana; Iowa at Purdue; No. 18 Michigan at No. 21 Minnesota; Maryland at Northwestern.
  • Seven days a week: Add those to Tuesday and Wednesday's MACtion, Saturday's standard college slate and the NFL's Thursday, Sunday and Monday domination and we're looking at football nearly every day in November.

Favorites: Five teams enter opening day ranked in the AP poll, but three stand out as the conference's top contenders.

  • No. 5 Ohio State: The conference's clear-cut frontrunner has a 68% chance to make the College Football Playoff, behind only Clemson (87%) and Alabama (82%).
  • No. 8 Penn State: Important pieces are missing, namely LB Micah Parson who opted out to focus on the draft and RB Journey Brown (medical condition). But the remaining roster is still loaded with star power.
  • No. 14 Wisconsin: Placement in the far easier Big Ten West gives the Badgers the fourth-best CFP odds in the nation (40%). Though they lost returning QB Jack Coan (foot injury), redshirt freshman Graham Mertz is the highest-rated QB recruit in school history.

Players to watch:

  • Ohio State QB Justin Fields: If anyone from the Big Ten is going to challenge Trevor Lawrence and Mac Jones for the Heisman, it's Fields (third-place last year).
  • Penn State QB Sean Clifford: He'll need to make a big leap after a fine but unspectacular sophomore campaign, and incoming OC Kirk Ciarrocca (last three years in Minnesota) could be the key to unlocking his potential.
  • Wisconsin RB Nakia Watson: No team has more successfully maximized a unit than Wisconsin's running game, winning four of the past eight Doak Walker awards (nation's best RB). Will Watson continue the tradition?

Go deeper

Trump campaign says it will file for a recount in 2 Wisconsin counties

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Trump campaign said on Wednesday that it plans to file for recounts in two Wisconsin counties — a state Joe Biden won by more than 20,600 votes, per AP.

The state of play: According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Trump paid the $3 million needed for a recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties — two of the most liberal counties in the state. The recount must start no later than Saturday and finish by Dec. 1.

2 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.