Will Ohio State be a Playoff Team?
This is an opinion piece
The Ohio State Buckeyes, 4-0, had a turbulent end to their week when it was announced Head Coach Ryan Day had tested positive for COVID-19. Day's positive test came on Friday, and within hours the Buckeyes upcoming game against Illinois was cancelled.
In a statement on Friday Athletic Director Gene Smith broke the news saying, "We have continued to experience an increase in positive tests over the course of this week,” Smith said, “The health, safety and well-being of our student-athlete is our main concern, and our decisions on their welfare will continue to be guided by our medical staff.”
With the threshold for qualifying for the Big 10 Championship being that six games must be played, it begs the question: What would happen if Ohio State was forced to miss the championship?
As of now the Buckeyes can play no more than six games, meaning that if next weeks matchup with Michigan State is cancelled, the Buckeyes, by rule, would be ineligible for the Big 10 Championship.
Now with that said, another question is posed: Is a five win Ohio State worthy of a spot in the College Football Playoff?
My answer to that is no. Plain and simple. Every other team competing for a spot in the final four will have played twice as many games as Ohio State at least, and in this case, the only impressive win the Buckeyes have is against Indiana. There is no way that Ohio State can prove its worth to the committee in the five games it will have played. If Ohio State wins out, in this scenario, they will have wins over Nebraska (1-4), Penn State (1-5), Rutgers (2-4), Indiana (5-1), and Michigan (2-4).
When you compare Ohio State to a team that it would be competing against for a Playoff Spot, if the Buckeyes miss the Big 10 Championship, the teams it would be competing against are a potential one-loss Texas A&M, with its loss coming to Alabama, a potentially undefeated Cincinnati team, and a potential one-loss Notre Dame if they lose to Clemson in the ACC Championship. The Buckeyes resume does not even begin to compare to that of Texas A&M and Notre Dame, and if Cincinnati is an undefeated conference champion the Bearcats have a legitimate reason to be let in.
No decision has been made yet on whether or not Ohio State will suit up against Michigan State, but with the extremely stringent COVID-19 protocols from the Big 10, the game seems to be in jeopardy. Under Big 10 protocol, if a player tests positive for the virus, they must sit out for a minimum of 21 days. If more players are forced to quarantine due to positive tests or contact tracing, the Buckeyes could very well be on the outside looking in at the end of the season.
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