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Big Ten Amends Rules, Allows Ohio State in Conference Championship

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The Big Ten amended its conference rules for 2020 and eliminated the six-game requirement to play in the conference championship on Wednesday. 

The rule change will allow No. 4 Ohio State to play in the Big Ten Championship against Northwestern on Dec. 19. Indiana would have faced the Wildcats if the Buckeyes had been deemed ineligible to play for the conference crown. Ohio State previously defeated the Hoosiers 42-35 on Nov. 21.

"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," the Big Ten said in a statement. "As a result of the decision, Ohio State will represent the East Division in the 2020 Big Ten Football Championship game against Northwestern."

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Ohio State leads the Big Ten East at 5–0. Ryan Day's squad was scheduled to face Michigan on Dec. 12, but the annual rivalry game was canceled due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Wolverines' program. 2020 marks the first year without the rivalry matchup since 1917. 

The Buckeyes are seeking their fourth College Football Playoff appearance in 2020. They lost to Clemson 29-23 in a semifinal matchup last year, five years after winning the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2014.