It was bound to happen.
There was always a high percentage chance that Ohio State would not be able to play all nine games of the shortened regular NCAA college football schedule.
Right now, the Buckeyes are one game shy of presenting a full resume to the College Football Playoff selection committee. Nine games are needed to have full consideration.
The game against Maryland, that was canceled Saturday, will not be rescheduled and will leave the Bucks with only eight games.
Right now, Alabama is ranked No. 1, followed by Notre Dame, Ohio State and Clemson.
The game was canceled because several Maryland players tested positive for COVID-19 and contact tracing puts the Terrapins season in jeopardy.
And it also puts a wrinkle in the Buckeye’s chances to be considered for an appearance in the CFP because of the nine-game minimum.
In the first three weeks, OSU has been dominant. As of now, the Bucks would likely come in at No. 2 or 3 even with eight games.
Now, if Ohio State runs the slate, the committee will have to take into consideration the canceled game that was out of the Buckeyes’ control.
There is not much wiggle room remaining. When Maryland put the kibosh on Saturday’s game, it eliminated points from Ohio State’s resume to present to the committee.
The Buckeyes also don’t have much wiggle room to qualify for the Big Ten Championship game either. To make that contest, they can afford one more canceled game, unless the Big Ten cancels games, too.
But as long as the Scarlet and Grey continue to dominate I believe they will make the CFP, unless they only end up playing five or six games.
But they must keep looking good and execute like they have in the first few weeks. The only other ranked team left on the schedule is Indiana.
In the end, this will not affect the Buckeyes’ chances of competing for a national championship.
Based on current events and data, there’s a decent chance that about half of the teams in D-1 football will have to cancel some games along the way. Flexibility will have to come into consideration from the committee.
Ohio State Coach Ryan Day talks about the need to handle situations better than their opponents. However, the opponent cancelling games cannot be seen – it’s invisible.
Right now, six of eight games are needed to qualify for the Big Ten championship.
If the average number of league games goes under six, then teams must play no less than two fewer games than the average number of Big Ten games played to qualify to go to Indy. Confused? Everyone is.
This year more than ever, a winning percentage will take precedence for teams to qualify for the championship. This is one reason why Ohio State should not be too concerned if they take care of business on the field. But it does make the game with the Hoosiers more important.
This weekend’s game needs to happen for the Buckeyes. If it’s canceled, it will bring doubt into the picture more than ever.
For this reason, the game with Indiana is a must win. It must happen and Ohio State must win big.
The Hoosiers could be 4-0 and the only team in the way of the Buckeyes getting to a fourth-straight Big Ten Championship game when they visit the Horseshoe on Saturday.
A close win invites a shadow of doubt over the chances of a CFP appearance. A blowout will help the Bucks’ cause a great deal.
But with what we have seen so far from the Buckeyes, the latter seems more likely.