As it currently stands, teams have to play at least six games to be eligible to play in the Big Ten title game. Obviously, that’s a major concern for the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes have played just four games so far this season after having to cancel their game against Illinois last Saturday. Luckily, Ohio State appears to be back on track and should be able to play this coming weekend against Michigan State. But it’s the Michigan Wolverines that now appear to be in danger of cancelling on the Buckeyes.
If the Wolverines do wind up cancelling their clash with Ohio State, currently scheduled for Dec. 12, that would make the Buckeyes ineligible to play in the Big Ten Championship game. That is, if the current conference rules remain intact.
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta – also the College Football Playoff chairman – said this week Big Ten leaders have yet to discuss a potential change to the conference title game’s requirements. But he is open to the idea because of how wild this year has been.
“With my AD hat on, in the Big Ten, has there been any discussion about changing the six-game rule? I’ve not been involved in any discussion on that topic,” Barta said on Thursday, via The Athletic’s Scott Dochterman. “That hasn’t happened at a conference level at this point. . . . We certainly contemplated at the beginning, what we thought would be the right way to go and that’s how we came up with the process we have so far. So I haven’t thought a lot about change. I do know, in 2020, in the pandemic, you certainly have to be open to what’s the right thing to do? And is it necessary to change, but at this point, again, we haven’t had that conversation.”
— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) December 3, 2020
If the Big Ten doesn’t change the conference championship game’s requirements, there’s a chance we don’t see Ohio State play in it.
Of course, then the question is: if the Buckeyes don’t play in the Big Ten Championship game, will they still be selected to the College Football Playoff?
It’s hard to imagine Ohio State getting in without a conference championship on its resume. But then again, the committee has favored the Buckeyes in the past.
This all might not matter as long as OSU continues to be dominant.