Stephen A. Smith is not dancing around the topic at hand in Ann Arbor. In fact, he believes it is up to the Big Ten to step in regarding the ongoing sign-stealing investigation at Michigan.

During Wednesday’s broadcast of ESPN’s “First Take,” Smith outlined what would be a “nightmare” scenario for the conference. In that scenario, if Michigan runs the table into the College Football Playoff, Smith believes the national media would not stop talking about the scandal involving Jim Harbaugh’s program.

Smith went on to explain Michigan’s inclusion in the CFP would likely come at the expense of another major college football brand, and the B1G would hear nonstop talk about the allegations against the Wolverines.


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“This is a serious matter because it clearly involves cheating. There is no way to slice it,” said Smith. “And if you are the Big Ten, here’s what you need to contemplate as your nightmare: Suppose Michigan runs the table. Suppose Michigan gets into the College Football Playoff. What do you think people are going to be talking about? You think the national media is going to let this go?”

Smith went on to say the B1G needs to force Michigan to answer questions and address the investigation. If those answers are not satisfactory, then the B1G should come down hard on the program this season per Smith.

“To me, I think it’s a huge miss and a huge mistake on the part of the Big Ten to let this slide. You need to bring the momentum, the heavy hand of the conference down upon that program to answer questions and to address this,” Smith claimed. “And dare I say: If they don’t give you answers to your liking, you make moves to make sure they don’t represent the conference in the CFP.”

Throughout this process, it has been reported that the NCAA is unlikely to have a ruling on the investigation before the end of this season. However, B1G commissioner Tony Petitti has the ability to weigh in on the matter under the league’s sportsmanship policy, but it remains to be seen if Petitti will do so.