The PAC 12 and Big Ten have themselves in a serious pickle, with nobody to blame but themselves. Both conferences, coincidentally, sat around deciding whether or not to have a season while the SEC and ACC fired up conference games. The result? Both the PAC and BIG have undefeated Power 5 teams looking at being left out in the cold because of a lack of resume, or in Ohio State's case, lack of qualifying games played.
In the PAC, both USC and Colorado are undefeated. The problem? Both teams have only played four games and they are not scheduled to play each other and are in the same division, so they cannot even play in the conference title game. Worse yet, USC is only ranked 15th, so they would need to likely beat an undefeated Colorado, either in the regular season or conference title, to even start making a case.
For Ohio State, they now sit at only five games played, with the Big Ten establishing at beginning of the season that only teams with six games played can participate in the Big Ten title game. The Buckeyes lost games with Maryland, Illinois, and now Michigan due to widespread Covid issues on those respective teams. Every team in the Big Ten is slated to play this weekend, so creating a conference matchup for the Buckeyes will likely not be feasible, as it would not only make drastic travel changes for one team but strip another team of a game.
So now, both conferences must decide to either change the conference rules (albeit makeshift, pandemic rules to begin with) or sit idly by as their conferences get shut out of the playoffs. Judging by their response at the beginning of the season, do not expect any clever or swift action from either conference. The Big Ten has the best chance, since Ohio State sells, has an argument since they were preseason #1, and they are also a ratings boost for the entity that is responsible for this season anyway (hint: The Mothership).
As Greg Couch of Outkick aptly reported (2020), "There is no way to stick it to Ohio State, no way an undefeated Ohio State will be left out of the playoff. Why? ESPN. The network wants the Buckeyes in the playoff. They drive huge TV ratings" (para. 7). So here we go again, even in a pandemic and weird rules and schedules for everyone, we will really see the motivations of college football.
NOW do you see why the UCF's and Boise's do not stand a chance, let alone Coastal Carolina? We are about to get a really ugly look behind the scenes of college football, either by way of changing rules on the fly to accommodate the "big" teams, or forego the rules and still let Ohio State into the playoff with only five games played. Nobody is immune, the ACC has already changed their rules to help get Notre Dame and Clemson into the dance.
In fact, this is not a "dance", it is a waltz.
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Main article photo credit: Pac 12 and Big Ten conferences.
In-Article Photo Credit: collegefootballplayoff.com
Couch, G. (2020). LARRY SCOTT PLAYS CHECKERS WITH UNDEFEATED PAC-12 TEAMS WHILE OTHER CONFERENCES PLAY CHESS FOR ESPN MONEY. Outkick. Retrieved from https://www.outkick.com/larry-scott-plays-checkers-with-undefeated-pac12-teams-while-other-conferences-play-chess-for-espn-money/