On Wednesday, Big Ten athletic directors officially waived the six-game requirement for teams to be in the Big Ten Championship Game, giving Ohio State a spot over Indiana out of the East division. Some are annoyed at the last-minute rule change, but Kirk Ferentz isn’t among them.
Ohio State is pretty clearly the best team in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes survived a fierce comeback from Indiana a few weeks ago, and finished the regular season at 5-0, once Michigan was unable to play the historic rivalry game between the two squads. As of now, Ohio State is in the No. 4 spot for the College Football Playoff, but they would have been in jeopardy of getting passed up for an SEC squad like Florida or Texas A&M if they couldn’t add to what is a pretty thin resume overall.
Ohio State’s 2020 opponents have a combined record of 14-19. Indiana is 6-1, and ranked No. 12 in the country, while the other four are all either 2-4 or 2-5 on the year.
Iowa sits at 5-2, ahead of Saturday’s game against Wisconsin. Northwestern has already locked up the Big Ten West title, so Ferentz doesn’t have to worry about playing Ohio State down the road. He thinks that the decision to let them into the championship is the right one.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz on his radio show said “you won’t hear any complaints from me” about the rule change allowing Ohio State to claim the East Division title. He said Ohio State is the best team in the league.
— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) December 10, 2020
Indiana fans, and Northwestern fans whose team now has a tougher conference championship matchup, have the right to be annoyed. Overall, this was a shrewd decision for sure, but the one the league probably had to make.
Losing a College Football Playoff spot means less revenue for all of the league’s teams. This year, with ticket sales and channels of revenue falling off a cliff, that is more important than ever.
No. 4 Ohio State and No. 14 Northwestern will play for the Big Ten Championship on Dec. 19 in Indianapolis.