Ann Arbor, MI — December 9, 2020
Michigan and Ohio State have met on the gridiron 116 times, their first game was in 1897, and they have played annually since 1918. That streak will come to an end this year as Michigan was forced to cancel its trip to Columbus this Saturday due to the increasing number of positive COVID-19 tests within the Wolverines football program.
In not playing the game Michigan has frustrated their rival in what has been the most unusual of circumstances during the pandemic ravaged season of 2020. And likely avoided a beat down as Ohio State was listed as a 30 point favorite.
The Big Ten conference started to play games late this year after 1st stating they were canceling the season. Upon reversing that decision a month after most conferences were already playing, eight games were scheduled for each school among conference opponents. It was stated that participation in six games was the minimum requirement to qualify for the Big Ten Championship game.
Ohio State had games canceled against Maryland on November 14th, and Illinois on November 28th. By not playing the interstate rivalry game with Michigan, Ohio State stands at 5-0 for the season. The Buckeyes are ranked #4 in the College Football Playoff standings and inline for a shot at the National Championship. Will the five-game schedule be enough to convince the playoff selection committee to include them in the four-team postseason tournament?
Big Ten Conference Athletic Directors Meet
A meeting is scheduled for today among the Big Ten Conference athletic directors. They could change the requirement and allow Ohio State to qualify for the Conference Championship game. However, there seems little motivation to do so.
The Big Ten was embarrassed when they were forced to reverse course on not playing in 2020. They made the announcement early and expected the other major conferences to follow suit. Only the Pac-10 agreed with the decision. It would be another awkward decision to let Ohio State coast on the six-game requirement.
There have been numerous cancelations in the conference this season. It is possible Ohio State could be paired with another opponent who is setting out this weekend. That would mean a short preparation schedule and a scramble to put the matchup together.
But, it’s better optics than the six-game waiver. Stay tuned, one thing is certain. Expect the unexpected in this topsy-turvy year of the virus.
The Big Ten Conference decided to allow Ohio State to play in the Conference Championship game despite not meeting the six-game minimum requirement. The Conference issued the following statement on the matter.
“The decision was based on a competitive analysis which determined that Ohio State would have advanced to the Big Ten Football Championship Game based on its undefeated record and head-to-head victory over Indiana regardless of a win or loss against Michigan.”