Point-counterpoint: Was the Big Ten right in letting Ohio State in its title game?
Commentary: Big Ten had to change rule to make money, save face
Nothing is normal about this year. Nothing makes sense. When you’re living in a world where world where nothing is normal, you cannot try to rationalize things the same way you would during usual circumstances.
Usually, rules are rules. They apply to everyone. It’s how we keep order in the world.
This year, we have to be able to bend the rules.
The Big Ten made a rule a few months ago that seemed like a good idea at the time. It turned out to be a bad rule, one that could have caused one major problem.
It could have cost the Big Ten millions of dollars.
So the rule had to be changed. Period.
Ohio State is the best team in the Big Ten, and it deserves to be in the conference championship game. The Buckeyes have only played five games, so they couldn’t qualify for the title game because the Big Ten originally stated teams had to play six games to be eligible.
The Big Ten wisely changed that rule Wednesday. It changed the rule because it had no choice.
Last year, the four teams that reached the College Football Playoff earned $6 million apiece, with that money going to their respective conferences to be split up between all the schools.
If the Big Ten had gambled and not changed its rule to let Ohio State play in the championship game, there would have been a chance that the Buckeyes could have been left out of the CFP.
I don’t believe that would have happened, by the way. Ohio State is No. 4 in the rankings and probably would have stayed that way, ahead of one-loss teams Texas A&M and Florida.
But we don’t know that for sure.
Giving Ohio State a chance to win the Big Ten championship certainly solidifies its chances of reaching the playoff, even if the league title game is against Northwestern. The Buckeyes are projected to be favored in that game by about 17 points.
A win, and Ohio State will be in the CFP.
And the Big Ten will get $6 million.
It’s as simple as that.
The Big Ten also didn’t want to have some humiliating type of situation where a team like Penn State could have found its way into the championship game. Oh yeah, that could have happened.
If the six-game rule was in effect, Ohio State would be ineligible, so Indiana would be next in line. But the Hoosiers are dealing with COVID and have canceled their game this week.
If by some chance Indiana couldn’t play week, then Penn State feasibly could have snuck into the Big Ten title game by beating Michigan State this week and finishing with a 3-5 record.
That would have been disastrous for the Big Ten.
The league saved itself all that potential headache and made sure it would help its chances to rake in $6 million by changing the rule.
There was no other option.
Cory Giger is editor of NittanySportsNow.com and host of “Sports Central” weekdays from 3-4 on WRTA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.