What’s next for Ohio State football? That’s a good question.
Even the people making the decisions aren’t sure whether the trail ahead leads to good things or is blocked by an unexpected rock slide.
“I have no clue what this afternoon or tomorrow or next week will bring,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said on Saturday during a Zoom call on which he and coach Ryan Day and team physician Dr. Jim Borchers discussed OSU’s decision to cancel its game at Illinois and pause all foootball activities indefinitely because of several positive tests for COVID-19 in the football program.
Unpleasant as it might be to consider, the next big event for Ohio State could be to cancel this Saturday’s game at Michigan State.
Until last week’s positive tests, Ohio State had a seemingly perfect record in avoiding COVID-19. But when those positives appeared they came from every area of the football program — players, coaches and support staff.
If the virus has appeared in all those categories it seems likely it will show up in more tests throughout the program this week. Also, when Wisconsin and Maryland canceled a game earlier this season they ended up having to cancel two games before they were ready to play again.
If Ohio State can’t go to East Lansing on Saturday it would not be able to meet the Big Ten’s requirement that a team has to play at least six games to qualify for the conference’s championship game.
Some people say the Big Ten should change that rule. Easy to say, not so easy to do. Remember the struggle it was to get the votes needed to restart the Big Ten football season?
Something that is sometimes overlooked is that even if it is not in the Big Ten championship game, Ohio State will play some Big Ten opponent, probably Wisconsin, the same weekend as the championship game.
The College Football Playoff does not have a minimum games played requirement, so OSU could still be considered when the four-team playoff field is decided.
An undefeated Ohio State team, with a win over Wisconsin in a match-up of arguably the two best teams in the Big Ten this year, wouldn’t be a lock to be in the final four but it would be in the discussion.