The Big Ten is expected to change its policy that teams must play six games to be eligible for the conference championship game, likely paving the way for undefeated No. 4 Ohio State to face Northwestern on Dec. 19, pending further approval in the league, sources told ESPN.
The Big Ten’s athletic directors met Wednesday morning, and while there was support to allow the Buckeyes in the conference championship with only five games, the policy change still has to be voted on by a larger group that includes the athletic directors and the senior women administrators, and it has to ultimately receive approval from the university presidents and chancellors.
Multiple sources told ESPN the meeting was collaborative and said there was a consensus that a sixth game would not change the Big Ten’s East Division standings. If Ohio State found another opponent to replace Michigan, the Buckeyes would still win the East, win or lose.
The Buckeyes’ place in the postseason became a question on Tuesday when Michigan canceled its regular-season rivalry game because of COVID-19 issues within the Wolverines program. It was the third canceled game for Ohio State this season, after others against Illinois and Maryland.