Questions lingering about Ohio State’s season after COVID-19 outbreak and canceled game


After an increased number of positive COVID-19 tests with the Ohio State football program, the Buckeyes now find themselves with their second game canceled of the year and many unknowns as a result.

With much still unresolved, we take a look at some of the lingering questions over the remainder of the Ohio State season.

When can the state of Ohio return?

That answer can only be fully known if the state of Ohio discloses whether the thresholds set by the Big Ten would require cancellation. A spokesperson for the team declined to respond if that was the case on Friday evening.

If the Buckeyes in fact hit the thresholds set by the Big Ten that require a stoppage – 5% of players and 7.5% of all Level I staff (players, coaches, staff and more) – then they won’t be able to not to return to the field for at least seven days. If so, the state of Ohio would be sidelined until next Friday, at a minimum. Could the Buckeyes, at best, return to the facility for practice before heading to Michigan State for a game? Possible, but unlikely. In that case, they would likely miss two games in a row.

If the thresholds weren’t met, however, Ohio state’s next move is unknown. Not all Big Ten teams that canceled games due to COVID-19 have met the thresholds. But even some that fell short of the thresholds – including Maryland and Wisconsin – led to two game cancellations. At this point, with a team-wide outbreak that caused a cancellation less than 24 hours before kick-off, this seems to be the most likely outcome.

What if the state of Ohio does not qualify for the Big Ten Championship game?

Ohio State fans are understandably concerned about the team’s ability to play for a Big Ten Championship this year, but a key change to the conference schedule this year is that every Big Ten team will play on the weekends. Championship with opponents lined up according to the conference standings.

So if the state of Ohio does not qualify for the Big Ten Championship game, the Buckeyes will still have a game scheduled this weekend, possibly against a ranked team from Wisconsin. While this isn’t quite equivalent to a game against an undefeated Northwest team with the Big Ten title at stake, it’s not all or nothing; a win over the Badgers would also help the Buckeyes’ playoff resumption.

Of course, all of this assumes that the Big Ten meet the six-game requirement.

Are the Big Ten reconsidering the Championship game minimum?

We all live in a world where the Big Ten postponed the season to spring and doubled their decision in a week to turn the tide just over a month later. So anything is possible. Earlier this fall, the conference set a precedent that it can change a decision it has already made.

Now are the Big Ten going to make a change here? It’s just hard to know.

The state of Ohio could try to use its power to advocate for the removal of minimum gambling, which is arbitrary. And the conference knows it would be a little strange if an undefeated Buckeyes team cede the division to an Indiana team they beat in Week 4 of the regular season.

Given how the Big Ten handled the postponement (cancellation?) Of the fall football season a few months ago, it’s unclear how it will react if the state of Ohio – and / or other teams – want to lobby to change that.

Is it possible that the average drops below 6 games played?

In reality, no.

By simple calculation, for the average number of games played to fall below six, it would take 14 cancellations over the season. Including the two canceled games this weekend, we are currently at six cancellations on the season with only two weeks. That means we would need eight cancellations over the next two weeks, more than half the number of games remaining.

If the Big Ten have to cancel more than half of their games in the next two weeks, we’re probably not going to see a Big Ten Championship game no matter who qualifies.

When the season returns, how many players will Ohio State be without?

Another way to ask this question would be “how many players have tested positive, anyway?” We don’t know the answer to that as the state of Ohio never released its pre-game attendance report.

What we do know is that anyone who tested positive will now be sidelined for 21 days, excluding them for Michigan State and Michigan State games, if Ohio State is able to participate in any of these contests.

Then there is also the possibility of potential mid-season withdrawals, as we have already seen in other schools.

Does this list remain intact?

Ohio State has a talent loaded with future NFL talent, and it could work against the Buckeyes if the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve in the wrong direction in the days and weeks to come.

A few of those players have returned to the state of Ohio to chase a national championship and improve their NFL draft stocks. If it looks like the Buckeyes’ college football playoff odds are out of the window and / or they feel they’ve already shown enough to bolster their position in the draft, the players could possibly choose to leave the team and begin their preparation for the NFL Draft early.

We’ve seen that before with Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman, who announced last week that he was leaving the team mid-season to focus on his preparation for the NFL Draft. There’s at least a chance we’ll see it at Ohio State if the players think they can’t hit their goals anymore.

Will college football playoffs retreat?

We know the college football playoffs have at least considered postponing the playoffs, but so far they have insisted on maintaining their current schedule, with officials saying it won’t postpone the playoffs to create a regular season. longer.

With end-of-season cancellations potentially causing a headache for the committee on selection day, we’ll see if the CFP reconsiders its position.

Can Ohio State still make the playoffs with so few games?

Our Dan Hope has gone much more in-depth on how the Ohio State COVID-19 situation is affecting the Buckeyes’ playoff odds, but the short answer is yes.

Even if the state of Ohio doesn’t play another game all season, the Buckeyes will still technically have a shot at making the playoffs, as the committee has said it won’t require a minimum number of games for as teams advance to the playoffs.

“The job of the selection committee is to select the top four teams from November 24 and continue through to the final ranking on December 20,” the committee said in a Q&A posted on its website last weekend. “The number of games and wins for each team is certainly important to weigh its ranking, but it is not the only factor. ”

Of course, more games would certainly help strengthen the Buckeyes’ playoff resumption, but if the committee believes Ohio State is one of the top four teams in the country, the Buckeyes can technically make it into the field. regardless of the number of matches they have played.


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