It’s a guarantee that the Buckeyes will head into next weekend’s matchup against Indiana undefeated.
This time it won’t be due to the white-hot quarterback play of junior Justin Fields–it’s because the team won’t play at all on Saturday. The Buckeyes’ Nov. 14 game against Maryland has been canceled following a spate of positive COVID cases within the Terrapins’ football program.
In the last week, eight members of the Maryland football team have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the school to announce on Nov. 11 that this weekend’s game with Ohio State will not be played. The school—after consulting with both the Big Ten and medical experts—also announced the game will not be rescheduled.
“Obviously, we are disappointed at not being able to compete this week, but I am incredibly proud of our team and the way they have handled themselves throughout this entire pandemic,” said Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day in a statement following the announcement, “We wish Maryland, their student athletes, and programs well as they battle through this issue.”
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
In a thus far wholly unorthodox 2020 campaign for the Big Ten—one in which the season was initially postponed to the Spring, only to see officials reverse course and begin conference play at the end of October—many conference teams have already been impacted by COVID-related postponements and cancelations.
The University of Wisconsin, currently ranked 9th nationally and the presumptive favorite of many to win the Big Ten West, was forced to cancel their two most recent contests (against Nebraska and Purdue) after an outbreak of nearly 30 COVID cases hit their staff and team.
And whether it’s luck or extra care that has allowed the Buckeyes to avoid canceling any games, it’s fair to question how this might affect the team’s very realistic playoff hopes.
It’s simple a fact of the bewildering 2020 college football season that fairness has, in large part, gone out the window. It’s not the Buckeyes’ fault they’re missing a game that could (and likely would) result in another critical win for the team; a game that matters even more now in the face of a shortened season.
Should OSU continue its winning ways for the rest of 2020, the Bucks are a likely shoe-in to the national playoff. Say they drop a close game against a tough opponent, then the number crunching really begins, a time when each win is worth its weight in gold.
However the rest of this totally unique season plays out from here is anyone’s guess, but the one thing we do know: at least we won’t be bored.