In the most 2020 thing ever, Northwestern and Ohio State both claimed division titles on weeks their games were canceled. The Big Ten gave the Buckeyes a boost to their College Football Playoff chances. With a win on Saturday, it seems unlikely the CFP committee would leave out an undefeated Ohio State even though it will have played just six games this season. As for Northwestern, it finished with just one conference win last season but is playing in the conference title game for the second time in three years.
The Big Ten originally stated teams must play at least six games to be eligible for the conference title game, but it eliminated the rule to ensure the Buckeyes get a shot to win it as the league’s only College Football Playoff contender.
Here are the opening odds from DraftKings Sportsbook for the Big Ten Championship Game:
Point spread: Ohio State -21.5
Point total: 59.5
Moneyline: Northwestern (+850), Ohio State (-1667)
How they got here
Ohio State was only able to get in five of its eight scheduled regular season games and heads into the conference title game with a 5-0 record. The Buckeyes were really only threatened once when Indiana nearly came all the way back from 28 points down in the third quarter only to lose by 42-35. Northwestern won its first five games as well highlighted by a victory over Wisconsin, which was ranked 10th in the country at the time. The Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season on Nov. 28 at Michigan State 29-20.
If Ohio State wins this game, I don’t see how the CFP committee leaves the all-powerful Buckeyes can leave them out with an undefeated record. If Northwestern wins this game, the Wildcats will get a New Year’s Six bid, which would be a big accomplishment for this program. With a loss, Northwestern could drop down to the Citrus Bowl against a team from the SEC.
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