Kirk Herbstreit explains how Ohio State's cancellation impacts Northwestern's CFP hopes
Let’s be clear: there are no winners from Ohio State having to cancel Saturday’s game against Illinois, but there could be one program that sees a noticeable impact on their odds for the College Football Playoff as a result.
The cancellation for the Buckeyes puts a serious dent in their hopes of qualifying for the B1G Championship Game. As it currently stands, Ohio State needs to return to action against Michigan State and play its final two games to qualify.
Otherwise, the Buckeyes will only be able to complete five games and fall below the six-game threshold. The only shot to reach the conference championship would be if 12 of the 14 remaining B1G games over the final two weekends get canceled.
During ESPN’s College GameDay, Kirk Herbstreit explained how Ohio State’s current scenario could open a big door for Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats. Everything is already in front of them, but if the Buckeyes cannot play in Indianapolis, Northwestern would likely draw Indiana for the conference title.
A win there could put Northwestern on the cusp of the Playoff:
“The Ohio State news, I think, impacts Northwestern as much as anybody. Northwestern now has a legitimate shot, we’ll see what happens down the road, but winning out and playing, more than likely, Indiana in the B1G Championship Game,” said Herbstreit. “And if Northwestern keeps winning and they can win the B1G championship….I’m just sayin’.”
Desmond Howard also jumped in to close the segment with some praise for the Wildcats:
“Because they have an identity, they’re able to go out there and just play no matter what the circumstances are and play extremely well. They play old-school football,” explained Howard.
While analysts might be playing out various scenarios for the Wildcats, do not expect Fitzgerald and company to do the same. Their focus will be on the Spartans when they face Michigan State Saturday.