Iowa Could Finish First in West But Still Miss Title Game
Nothing should surprise you in the year 2020. We're lucky to be able to say we've got to see our Iowa Hawkeyes play in six straight football games after the cancellations and delays within the Big Ten Conference and around the country. So it shouldn't surprise you that the Big Ten title game will feature a team that benefits from a cancellation.
While nothing is 100 percent set, the Gazette reports that Northwestern likely became the West's representative in the Big Ten Title game, when it was announced on Monday that their game on Saturday at Minnesota was being cancelled due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Gopher program. So even if Northwestern lost at home to Illinois on December 12th, and Iowa wins out against Illinois and Wisconsin, the Wildcat's 5-2 record would send them to the title game and not Iowa's 6-2 record.
While Iowa would have more conference wins, since the teams would have the same number of losses, the head to head matchup would be used to determine who played in the title game. Northwestern topped Iowa 21-20 in Iowa City back on October 31st. The Gazette points out that unless 11 of the league's remaining 13 games are cancelled and the minimum games requirement is lowered from 6 to 5, and Northwestern loses to Illinois, the Wildcats are going to win the West.
Ohio State is in a tough spot too. At 4-0, they need to play in two more games to meet the minimum requirement to win the East title and play in the Big Ten Title game. A win there would put them in the College Football Playoff. But as we've seen in 2020, there are no certainties. Even in sports.