ESPN writer says Northwestern won't complain about Ohio State's extra rest: 'They've been in this situation a lot'
On Wednesday, the Big Ten officially changed its policy with regard to the number of games a team must play to be eligible for the conference championship game. The result is that No. 4 Ohio State will face Northwestern on Dec. 19.
In collaboration with the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, the Big Ten Administrative Council, made up of all athletic directors and senior administrators, voted to eliminate the minimum-game requirement.
The issue came to light after Michigan canceled the scheduled matchup with Ohio State, resulting in the Buckeyes’ third canceled game of the season, after having their games with Illinois and Maryland nixed.
The decision was based on a competitive analysis which determined that Ohio State would have advanced to the Big Ten Football Championship Game based on its undefeated record and head-to-head victory over Indiana regardless of a win or loss against Michigan, the conference said.
For Northwestern, who has managed to face just one COVID-19 cancelation due to Minnesota having issues, it will be their eighth game of the 2020 season. In contrast, it will be the sixth for the Buckeyes. With the Wildcats on the field against Illinois on Saturday, the Buckeyes will essentially be heading into the title game off a bye week.
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg talked with Joe Ostrowski and Ross Tucker on Bet Sweats about the situation with Northwestern and gave his take on the Ohio State game.
“They’re going to play because they want to play. You know Pat (Fitzgerald) just like I do, they’re not just gonna want to sit it out. That’s just not their nature,” said Rittenberg.
“It’s actually been interesting, Northwestern has been so good at handling COVID and they’ve had a number of situations, I think three or four times, their opponents have had a week off before they face them. So they’ve kind of been in this situation a lot throughout the season.”
🔊 @ESPNRittenberg breaks down the impact of the Big Ten allowing Ohio State to play in the conference title game vs. Northwestern.
— Bet Sweats (@BetSweats) December 10, 2020