SportsPulse: Dan Wolken reacts to the second College Football Playoff rankings and believes Ohio State can get into the playoff without qualifying for the Big Ten championship game given the committee's track record. USA TODAY
Under normal circumstances, Ohio State would be in a comfortable position in the College Football Playoff discussion. But this is 2020 — nothing is normal.
The committee clearly has a favorable impression of the Buckeyes, who were slotted fourth in the most recent set of rankings. But COVID-19 issues have caused two cancellations for Ohio State, and there’s the possibility of a third if Michigan is unable to resume activities in time for its scheduled game with the Buckeyes on Dec. 12.
That would leave Ohio State with just five regular-season games, short of the six required by the Big Ten to be eligible for the conference championship. That’s according to rules put in place when the league voted to restart its season.
On its face, the lack of an official conference title wouldn’t be a disqualifier from playoff consideration, but in past years the committee has emphasized conference championships as a major criterion for selection to the four-team field.
So where would matters stand for the Buckeyes if Michigan is unavailable next weekend, assuming OSU takes care of business this Saturday against Michigan State? There are several possibilities.
►The Big Ten could find the Buckeyes another league opponent if there are other games canceled, a strong possibility given the number of teams hit by COVID-19 outbreaks on a weekly basis.
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