Point-counterpoint: Was the Big Ten right in letting Ohio State in its title game?
Commentary: League misses big chance to pursue game with A&M
Yes, but I think the league missed a great opportunity to show out-of-the-box thinking that would have injected some needed excitement into the Big Ten.
And that would have been to allow the Buckeyes — with the Big Ten’s help — to schedule the best opponent they could find for a date this weekend.
The opponent could have been Texas A&M, which had its game with Mississippi canceled.
The Aggies are currently ranked No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings behind the No. 4 Buckeyes, No. 3 Clemson, No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 1 Alabama.
Talk about a game that would move the ratings needle.
If Ohio State would lose, it wouldn’t necessarily be out of the CFP playoff conversation. It would still have the tiebreaker advantage over Big Ten East runner-up Indiana by virtue of a head-to-head win over the Hoosiers.
So presuming a victory over Big Ten West champion Northwestern next weekend in Indianapolis, a game with the Aggies would either bolster the Buckeyes’ cause or at least keep them alive.
Depending on what happens with the Fighting Irish vs. Clemson in the ACC final, it’s conceivable that the Final Four will have at least one team, maybe two or three, with one loss.
Rather than just giving the Buckeyes a pass because Michigan can’t play, why not use the situation to showcase the best program in the Big Ten and one of the best in the country?
Because Michigan and Penn State — the other top brands in the Big Ten — are experiencing bad years (not to mention that the two have combined to beat the Buckeyes once in the last 17 tries), a matchup with A&M would have been OSU’s best measuring stick this season.
Ohio State will be favored to beat Northwestern by at least two touchdowns. A win over the Wildcats will only be slightly more impressive than the rest of the Buckeyes’ resume — Nebraska, Rutgers, Indiana, Michigan State and, oh yeah, Penn State.
Since the Michigan game was canceled, many voices across the college football world have screamed for a Buckeye-Aggie matchup, even at a neutral site since fans won’t be present regardless.
It could be a tasty appetizer of what an expanded CFP field could look like going forward.
I realize there are TV and logistical issues, COVID-19 concerns and protocols, but when there’s a will, there’s a way.
Coastal Carolina and Brigham Young did it on a couple days notice. The Big Ten could have, too, and my guess is Ohio State’s attitude would be: Bring it on.
Because the Big Ten was so eager to cancel its season, and then was shamed back into playing by the SEC, ACC and Big 12, the league has been flat-footed most of the year.
This was a chance to show otherwise.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or email@example.com.