This Friday is a bit sadder than your typical end of the week. We should be all amped up for Ryan Day to fulfill his promise of dropping 100 on the Michigan Wolverines, but instead Ohio State will remain on the sideline with The Game becoming the latest victim of what has been a truly atrocious year of 2020 from start to finish.
In fact, a ton of this weekend’s college football slate has been decimated by COVID-19 cancellations, including the likes of Texas A&M-Ole Miss, Cincinnati-Tulsa, Oklahoma-West Virginia, Indiana-Purdue, Oregon-Washington, and a host of others. If you needed any indication of the current rate of spread of this virus across the country, just take a quick look at all the top programs dealing with outbreaks right now.
Still, somehow, someway, we are going to get to the end of this weird season relatively soon. Let’s get to today’s headlines surrounding the Buckeyes and the rest of the sport as a whole.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
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From around the gridiron...
The College Football Playoff discussion has never been more intricate than this season. There are usually a ton of arguments to be made for teams on the brink of the top four, but those discussions haven’t included the number of games played as a result of a pandemic... until this year. It would have been a really ideal and fun time for the NCAA to institute an expanded playoff field — even if just on a one-year test basis — with all that has happened in 2020, but why should we expect the NCAA to ever do something that is fun or exciting?
This is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. This is what a legit playoff looks like as opposed to the invitational we currently have. pic.twitter.com/OJVDCagUfW— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) December 11, 2020
Now, doubling back to the actual College Football Playoff, which will still include just the committee’s top four teams, there is still a good amount to be sorted out. While some may think the field is more or less set in stone, there is still a number of things that can happen to shake up this year’s CFP.
The first — and most likely — scenario is that all of the favorites win next weekend, which gives us the final four that has been pretty much the expectation from the start. As things stand on Friday evening, Ohio State is a 20.5-point favorite over Northwestern in the B1G title, Clemson is a 10.5-point favorite over Notre Dame in the ACC title, and Alabama is a 13.5-point favorite over Florida in the SEC title. Those teams winning gives us Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Ohio State in the CFP.
Now what would happen if, say, Notre Dame defeats Clemson in the ACC title game and all else holds. Alabama, Notre Dame, and Ohio State all undoubtably get in, but who becomes the fourth team? Can you still put the Tigers in with two losses? Do you reward Texas A&M who won't even play in their conference title game? Does Cincinnati sneak in as the first Group of 5 team to make the field? This would be by far the most messy scenario for the committee.
Finally, what happens if Florida upsets Alabama in the SEC title game? This is the scenario that should be the most scary for fans of Ohio State, as I think the Buckeyes become the odd team out in this hypothetical world. With Clemson, Notre Dame and Florida obviously in, the committee would have to choose between a 10-1 non-champ Alabama and a 6-0 B1G champ Ohio State for the final spot. With how good the Crimson Tide have looked this season, I don't think the committee will take the Buckeyes over the Tide having played only six games.
There is also an argument in that exact scenario where, depending on how large the spread Clemson defeats Notre Dame by, it could be Ohio State who steals the final spot over the Fighting Irish. We have already seen the committee not really think the Tigers’ initial loss against Notre Dame should be looked at too closely with Trevor Lawrence out, and if the Irish lose by something like three scores, they could miss out on the CFP entirely.
Obviously anything can happen in college football, but the final College Football Playoff field isn’t as set in stone as some may think, and things could get weird if there’s an upset or two on championship weekend. Just give me an eight-team playoff already and lets have some fun.
Ohio State isn’t letting all the playoff talk detract from their first goal.
One objective in mind.#GoBuckeyes #Fight pic.twitter.com/zzG5sFHqbB— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) December 11, 2020
If you’re still complaining about the Big Ten changing their arbitrary six-game minimum rule, just stop it. They didn’t only do it because its Ohio State. They did it because dumb rules should be made into not dumb rules.
People need to understand - Ohio State was -guaranteed- to make the Big Ten title game even if they -lost- to Michigan. That's why I have no issue with the rule change. Ohio State could have made the B10CG by declaring a forfeit, which was absurd. https://t.co/QMrwE40TZe— College Football Nerds (@CFBNerds) December 11, 2020
It really sucks that Ohio State’s seniors will not get to experience all of the festivities that come with senior day in a normal year. Even worse, the seniors didn’t even know that the Indiana game would be their last time suiting up inside Ohio Stadium. Luke Farrell is one of those guys missing out on what should be a special day, and so his older brother Nolan penned him a surprise letter to honor all his accomplishments and thank him for all that he has done both on and off the field.
On what was supposed to be his Senior Day weekend at Ohio Stadium, Luke Farrell's older brother Nolan shares an open letter with @11W to congratulate Luke on his five years as a Buckeye: https://t.co/qcGxXhiMwL— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 11, 2020
Kind of weird that the cancellations worked out like this. Also ironically, this is one of the few times this season that Michigan has seen their logo associated with a W.
Trying to keep track of all the cancellations this week makes your head hurt. Can't blame you if you're sitting there saying: pic.twitter.com/Yz6BeaOz68— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) December 11, 2020
From around the hardwood...
We got a bit of bad news from the hoops team on Friday, as sophomore forward E.J. Liddell will be out indefinitely with what the school is calling a “non-COVID-19 related illness.” In the release from Ohio State, Chris Holtmann says that they expect Liddell to return “hopefully soon.” Liddell has been a huge reason for why the Buckeyes have started out 4-0, and was the catalyst for the team’s comeback win over Notre Dame their last time out.
We wish Liddell a speedy recovery from whatever is ailing him.
Hoops news: E.J. Liddell out indefinitely with a non-COVID illness. Chris Holtmann says: “We anticipate him returning here hopefully soon.”— Bill Landis (@BillLandis25) December 11, 2020
Ohio State hosts Cleveland State on Sunday and plays at Purdue next Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/lNAkLFvj1I
From everywhere else...
Leaving this here without context other than that I agree with Austin.
https://t.co/TbRdDmCYc6 pic.twitter.com/GhMa9YUT1U— Austin Ward (@AWardSports) December 11, 2020
Finally some good news in 2020. If you have never watched It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, I cannot begin to describe to you how much you are missing out.
can I offer you four more seasons in this trying time? it’s always sunny in philadelphia has been renewed through season 18, making it the longest-running live action sitcom in TV history. pic.twitter.com/EtIbGBljrO— FX Networks (@FXNetworks) December 10, 2020
Please stay safe out there. Do your part wherever possible. This virus is still very serious. We can all get through this sooner than later if we just listen to the scientists and follow their very simple guidelines.
More Americans died of COVID19 today than died on 9/11.— Craig Spencer MD MPH (@Craig_A_Spencer) December 10, 2020
After that horrendous attack, we restructured our way of life & accepted limits on our freedoms to combat the threat of terrorism.
9/11 was one day. COVID is everyday.
Be a patriot. Wear a mask. Help us end this pandemic.