Big Ten Will 'Likely' Change Championship Game Requirements if Ohio State Can't Play Sixth Game

Justin Fields
Justin Fields / Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Ohio State is yet again one of the best teams in the country, riding an undefeated record on the strength of star quarterback Justin Fields. There is a problem looming on the horizon, though. The Buckeyes are 5-0 and undoubtedly deserve a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game as the conference's best team, but the guidelines set before the season began in October stated a team must play at least six games to be considered eligible for the championship.

Ohio State has already had two games canceled due to COVID. One came early in the year when Maryland suffered an outbreak, and one came more recently when the OSU program had its own outbreak to deal with. They were still missing four players when they beat Michigan State this Saturday.

Ohio State has one more game left on the schedule: their big rivarly game with Michigan to take place one week from now. But Michigan is currently in the midst of a COVID outbreak in the program and their game this week was canceled. If the outbreak isn't contained and it's unsafe to play next week, the game won't be played and Ohio State wouldn't meet the minimum game threshold.

Unless, of course, the Big Ten changed the rules. Which college football insider Brett McMurphy reports is a likely possibility.

As someone who despises Ohio State with every fiber of their being, I initially got worked up about this. But it ultimately makes sense. The minimum game threshold was a tough rule to have when there was no plan to reschedule any games that got canceled because of a coronavirus outbreak. Ohio State is certainly the best team in the conference and a Big Ten Championship Game without them wouldn't be very legitimate. It's better to change things on the fly as the situation continues to develop than stick to a rule made three months ago.

Of course, nothing is set in stone yet. The Buckeyes very well could end up playing next weekend and there will be nothing to note. But everything changes quickly in 2020.