In a year filled with cancellations due to rising COVID-19 cases, conference championship games across college football have become a question of concern as the regular season comes to an end.
Brett McMurphy of Stadium tweeted that athletic directors in the Big Ten will likely change the title game requirements that would allow No. 4 Ohio State (5–0) in the title game if the team cannot play a sixth league game.
The Buckeyes defeated Michigan State 52–12 and now awaits to play rival Michigan in Columbus next Saturday. If next week’s rivalry game with Michigan is not played due to Michigan's COVID-19 concerns, the Buckeyes would not qualify for the Big Ten championship game under the current rules that require six games.
While no rule changes have been confirmed, the rule states that Ohio State would only be able to play for a conference title if another league team is left without a Dec. 12 opponent due to a coronavirus outbreak.
Ohio State has the best opportunity to represent the Big Ten in the College Football Playoff. With a victory in the Big Ten conference championship game making a strong case for Ohio State to get into the CFP, the conference is likely to make the rule change.
Other Big Ten teams could be affected by the conference implications. Wisconsin will not be able to play six games. If Northwestern loses next week to Illinois and the Badgers win out, the rule would likely help Wisconsin earn a spot in the Big Ten championship game.
Michigan paused all football activities on Monday amid an increase of coronavirus cases within the program. The Wolverines will not be able to resume practicing until Monday, Dec. 7. The Wolverines' game against Maryland scheduled for Saturday was canceled.