The Big Ten Is About to Bend Over Backwards to Accommodate Ohio State

Ryan Phillips
Big Ten logo, Michigan v Indiana
Big Ten logo, Michigan v Indiana / Justin Casterline/Getty Images
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The Big Ten is about to change its own rules for the 2020 football season to ensure Ohio State gets maximum exposure and to increase the Buckeyes' chances of being selected for the College Football Playoff. Yes, the entire league is going to bend over backwards solely to help land the extra payday involved with having a team make the CFP. And the conference's decision-makers will do it regardless of what every member agreed to at the start of the season.

With Ohio State's matchup with Michigan cancelled this weekend, the Buckeyes will finish the season 5-0. Before the campaign began the conference ruled that to qualify for the Big Ten Championship Game, a team had to play in at least six games. Therefore, Ohio State will be ineligible to compete. Those rules make sense, as the more games teams play, the more likely they are to lose. It was also an incentive for everyone to follow the conference's COVID-19 protocols.

Now those rules are likely to be thrown out solely to land the conference more cash. The Big Ten will likely meet and decide to waive the six-game requirement to ensure Ohio State gets the exposure of the Big Ten title game, and therefore a better shot at the playoff.

Ohio State had an outbreak of COVID-19 this year and had to cancel the Illinois game as a result. Teams that followed the rules, had no outbreaks and played more games will essentially be punished for doing so. Yes, the Buckeyes had to cancel games against Maryland and now Michigan because those programs had outbreaks, but that was always a risk with playing this season. Everyone knew the score and decided to play.

Indiana could have found a reason to opt out of going to Columbus to play the Buckeyes and potentially preserve an undefeated record. Instead, the Hoosiers went on the road and lost a close game (42-35). That's their only loss on the season and at 6-1 they're in the top 10 and could finish their entire schedule -- though Purdue may cancel this weekend's game. According to the rules, they should win the conference's East Division and meet Northwestern for the Big Ten title.

Indiana isn't better than Ohio State, but given the confines and rules of the season laid out at the beginning that everyone agreed to, the Hoosiers should be in that championship game. Let Ohio State is worthy, let its resume speak for itself with the CFP committee, if the Buckeyes are worthy the Big Ten shouldn't have to give them a leg up by altering the deal at the end.

Money is everything in college sports, so the Big Ten is virtually certain to stack the deck in Ohio State's favor and make this move. Whether it's the right thing to do is for the rest of us to decide.

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