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Because Ohio State had to cancel their game against Illinois, the Buckeyes are now one more cancellation away from being ineligible for the Big Ten Championship game. They have Michigan State and Michigan left on the schedule.
Would the Wolverines go out of their way to be extra cautious and cancel their game against the rival Buckeyes? It's incredibly unlikely, but it would probably save Michigan from a lot of embarrassment on the field and pour gasoline on the fires of the rivalry.
How the Big Ten Could Shake Out
The Big Ten did not build in bye weeks or an extra week after the season between the finale and the championship game, so the Buckeyes would be out of luck if either of these two games are canceled.
Games around college football have been getting postponed and canceled at an alarming rate. If Ohio State has to forfeit one of their last two games, the Indiana Hoosiers would be in the championship game instead. The Hoosiers odds moved from 50:1 to 35:1 in a matter of hours yesterday after the cancellation was announced, as keen bettors put two and two together.
As it stands right now, Ohio State would be almost guaranteed to face Northwestern in the Big Ten title game. Few football fans had Northwestern winning the Big Ten West, but with the Wildcats in the top 10, the Big Ten Title game would still get the national attention it deserves.
Wisconsin is also one cancellation away from being ineligible. If Northwestern would slip up and lose to either Michigan State, Minnesota, or Illinois, there's a chance Wisconsin could sneak back into the Title Game.
Imagine the scenario where Ohio State is ineligible, and Northwestern takes on Indiana for the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis. Not exactly what the Big Ten or television ratings would want, and perhaps one step further, Ohio State's hopes of a berth in the College Football Playoff would be all but dashed.
College Football Playoff Hopes
The top of the rankings remain unchanged, barring Alabama being upset by Auburn, as Notre Dame solidified their spot at number two with a nice win over North Carolina. Ohio State should remain inside the top 4 despite only playing four games.
Oregon saw their chances of a playoff berth go down the tubes as they lost an in-state battle with Oregon State. The Beavers scored on a fourth-down run with 33 seconds left to snatch a 41-38 victory from the jaws of defeat.
Cincinnati had its game canceled, but a win against Temple would not have moved the needle much for their CFP hopes. The Bearcats are one team that would dramatically benefit from Ohio State not getting enough games to be eligible for the College Football Playoff.
It would seem to be down to Florida, Texas A&M, and the Bearcats for the final spot should the Buckeyes find themselves unable to play six games. The Gators seem destined for a matchup with Alabama in the SEC Championship game. It's possible a Florida win in the SEC title game would still send both programs to the CFP, putting an end to the hope for the Bearcats.