How Ohio State could impact the Big Ten and College Football Playoff debate

Welcome to Before The Snap, For The Win’s college football show where we’ll break down the sport’s trending storylines, examine each week’s biggest matchups and track the College Football Playoff and Heisman Trophy races.



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Going into Week 14 of this strange college football season, the top-4 teams in the country remain clear: Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State. But whether or not those four teams actually make it to the College Football Playoff is a bit more complicated this year because the season is carrying on through the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Thursday morning, Ohio State has the second-best chance to make the College Football Playoff, according to ESPN’s Playoff Predictor, at 77.4 percent — behind only Alabama with 96.4 percent.

However, the Buckeyes are 4-0 and have had two games this season canceled already, and they have two games remaining on their schedule. They’re set to play Michigan State on Saturday and Michigan the following weekend. But if either of those matchups are canceled, they won’t meet the Big Ten’s six-game threshold to be eligible for the conference championship game.

If Ohio State plays and wins its next two games, none of this will be an issue. But if it’s unable to play for a conference title — a factor the selection committee considers — can it still make the playoff?

We break down Ohio State’s position in the Big Ten and how this season’s playoff debate could be even more complex than usual.

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