Because the Big Ten started its season so much later than leagues like the ACC, Big 12, and SEC, the conference doesn’t have the same scheduling flexibility. The league hoped that the tradeoff would be a more robust testing procedure that could help prevent outbreaks, but so far they haven’t had any more luck than other leagues in that regard, with numerous games getting canceled so far this season, including a number for league favorite Ohio State, a potential College Football Playoff squad.
The Buckeyes had their game against Maryland canceled earlier this season, due to an outbreak within the Terps program. Now, Ohio State is dealing with its own issues, which led to cancellation of the Illinois game. If OSU loses one more game, it will likely be ineligible to play in the Big Ten Championship.
Current Big Ten rules dictate that teams are only eligible to play in the conference title game if they play at least six of the eight scheduled games. That could change if 12 of the Big Ten’s final 14 games are canceled, but that is very unlikely. Ohio State is 4-0, so they need both the Michigan State and Michigan games to be played, barring a major change.
Paul Finebaum believes the league should change the rule preemptively. During Get Up this morning, he cited how frequently the league has changed course heading into the season, as reason for why they shouldn’t be worried about doing it again.
— 247Sports (@247Sports) December 1, 2020
“Why don’t they go back and change the rules again? This is not like some Supreme Court ruling that is held up for 200 years,” Finebaum said on Get Up via 247Sports. “They are making it up as they go along. They canceled the season on August 11, they came back, then they put in all these protocols. Go back and in there and change it again.
“Who cares? The whole college football season has been turned upside down anyway. Why make it difficult when in the end, or in the beginning, the Big Ten came back for Ohio State?”
That would be a tough blow for Indiana, which stands to make the conference title in Ohio State’s place, but the Buckeyes beat IU head to head. It is also pretty impossible to argue that the Buckeyes aren’t the best team in the Big Ten East, and would be getting left out based on some pretty arbitrary and short-sighted rules designed in September.
Of course, this issue can be avoided entirely if Ohio State can field a team against Michigan State on Saturday. We obviously hope that every team is able to do so this weekend, and more importantly, that everyone is healthy.