Big Ten Season Spiraling Towards Chaotic Finish
Coronavirus cancellations are causing a headache for Big Ten administrators.
The Big Ten knew this might be a problem when they delayed the start of their season. Rewind 2 months ago and it looked like the Big Ten was going to cancel their whole football season. The SEC, Big 12, and ACC all had started their seasons but the Big Ten thought the risk was too high. Then after some last-minute pressure from athletic departments and fan bases around the midwest, they decided to go ahead with a last-minute plan to squeeze in an abbreviated season.
Because they waited so long to begin the season, there was no wriggle room to make up canceled games like the other conferences were able to do that started weeks earlier. They also put a minimum number of games that need to be played in order to compete in the Big Ten Championship.
The one national title contender from the Big Ten, Ohio State, just learned that they will not (as of now) have played enough games to qualify for the championship game after this weekend's matchup against Michigan was canceled.
Ohio State already had two games canceled this year against Maryland and Illinois, this canceled game will leave them with a 5-0 record, and with the Big Ten down in quality this year, they only have one semi-decent quality win with a victory over the biggest surprise of the season, Indiana.
People that know a lot more than I do about the situation say that there is no way the NCAA will not take them as one of the four top teams in the College Football Playoffs, even with a limited number of games played. But that doesn't mean that the athletic directors of the Big Ten won't try to "massage" the rules to get the Buckeyes into the Big Ten Championship game.
There's also the possibility of Ohio State trying to schedule another game this week. There are a lot of attractive options in teams like Cincinnati or #5 Texas A&M. Just last week we saw Coastal Carolina schedule BYU at the last minute after a game against Liberty was canceled. So we'll just have to wait and see.