The parallels between an organized crime family and college football extends beyond point shaving and thousand dollar handshakes. Each conference commissioner and the capos representing the universities within the conference angle to find the most feasible entry route to the national championship. There are sometimes grand jury testimonies, unhealthy obsessions, and characters showy and questionable in both worlds that fade the line between what’s right and what’s legal.

To be clear: none of what the ACC or SEC did is in any way illegal. They looked out for their own and protected the best interests of their respective conferences. Kind regards for the brazen approach to keeping Alabama out of harm’s way and the late-season schedule finagling for Clemson and the ACC’s foster child in South Bend.

Before I catch any pitchforks, neither of those conferences are to blame. Their work is admirable. The Big Ten needs to do the same for Ohio State. All gloved hands on deck. 

Now that the Buckeyes’ game Saturday against Michigan has been cancelled, it is time for all to get involved. Lucky for you, Kevin Warren (James Gordon from Batman is the only person I openly refer to as “Commissioner”), I drew up a list of attributes as to what each and every other team in the conference could offer Ohio State as a resume builder if the Buckeyes needed a new opponent for Week 8. 


Force the entire Ohio State roster and operations staff into Champaign three days before the game. If they don’t look to thumb a ride to St. Louis or Chicago, consider them committed to the task at hand and operating with a heightened sense of concentration. 


The most delectable of rematches for the Buckeyes. Even without quarterback Michael Penix Jr., another crack at the Hoosiers, specifically their defense, provides the best test going into the College Football Playoff. 


My personal choice, the combination of the Hawkeyes defense and the crotchety star turn of Kirk Ferentz through the 2020 season is the sort of mashup that provides just enough pre-game fodder and anticipation leading up to the game and in-game challenges for the Buckeyes. 


The connect-the-dots possibilities concocted by talking heads on television to chart Mike Locksley’s move from Alabama to Maryland and how that sort of thread-bare connection is enough of a narrative to stretch from the first through fourth quarters will satiate no one but instead provide talking points for viewers to lament.

Michigan State

Great practice if college football or football in general ever decides to shift to the playoff system of professional sports and requires a series win for a team to advance. 


Oh boy, there’s, well, there’s the cold in Minneapolis. Don’t forget the possibility of snow, there could definitely be snow. And who knows, if the College Football Playoff moves to Fargo this is great front-end practice for a team that typically plays its last cold weather game of the year at the end of November. 


Psychological warfare, at least for the first half. Northwestern would play so conservative on offense their Twitter bio would need a row of American flags after its handle. Flip the field and the Wildcats would force Ohio State into painstaking drives and a level of concentration and exactness on offense no other team required of them in the 2020 season.


No one is going to tell the Buckeyes they love football more, but Nebraska might come close. The pregame chatter, mainly from fans and local outlets in each market, would try to out-passion the other in regards to their infatuation with the sport. The mutually beneficial experience would give Ohio State another win. Ryan Day and company could teach the Huskers the damning torture of unrequited love. 

Penn State

A wonderful uniform game. Would serve as good prep to a potential traditional yet elegant uniform game between Alabama and Ohio State. There’s also the whole business of the Nittany Lions on a winning streak. 


There’s got to be a lingering stench from the 2018 game against Purdue. Play up the revenge angle, an angle dented and bent so soft thanks to the Boilermakers’ play in the last few weeks. All things considered, operating under the guise of revenge would be helpful if scheduled against Clemson in the CFP. 


How could we forget the razzle-dazzle from the season’s first matchup between Ohio State and Rutgers? Never has a blowout been so intriguing and mutually beneficial. Somehow offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson would scheme a Clydesdale onto the field for a third-and-short situation as the lead blocker, all under the letter of the law. 


Blow the doors off the Badgers and Barry Alvarez can put in a few good words to his old friends on the selection committee. Just make sure Jake Ferguson catches a pass, there are three distracted Badgers fans in Spooner who don’t know he’s the athletic director’s grandson.