- The Ohio State Buckeyes will play in the Big Ten championship despite only playing five games.
- Before the season began, the Big Ten established a rule that a team would need to play in at least six games to qualify.
- Big Ten athletic directors met on Wednesday and changed the rule to allow the Buckeyes a shot at the conference title.
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The Ohio State Buckeyes' hopes of a conference championship were saved on Wednesday thanks to a rule change.
Heading into the weekend, the Buckeyes were undefeated through five games of their 2020 season, with a rivalry game against Michigan set for Saturday. That game was canceled due to an outbreak of COVID-19 at Michigan. Ohio State was set to conclude its regular season with just five games played.
For the Buckeyes, this was a terrible outcome, as the Big Ten decided before the season that a team would need at least six games to qualify for the conference championship. Thankfully for them, Big Ten athletic directors met on Wednesday and changed the rule, pending a wider vote amongst conference leadership.
While the circumstances and optics of the decision aren't great, the move is probably for the best. Because they were undefeated and already hold a head to head win over Indiana, who is currently one game behind them in the Big Ten East Division standings, the Buckeyes would have qualified for the conference title game even if they had lost their sixth game of the year. Ohio State is the best team in the conference by a good margin, and their inclusion in the title game makes more sense than their exclusion.
Still, the news comes as a blow to Indiana, who have played a brilliant season and would have snuck into the Big Ten title game with a shot at their first conference championship since 1967.
The Big Ten championship game will take place on December 19, pitting No. 3 Ohio State against No. 14 Northwestern.
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