Ohio State is 4-0 on the year and seems well-positioned to secure a Big Ten Championship berth. The one potential pitfall that lays ahead is the program’s looming showdown against Michigan.
According to ESPN college football insider Kirk Herbstreit, it wouldn’t be all that shocking to see the Wolverines duck the Buckeyes in an attempt to wreck the latter team’s season.
“I still think Michigan waves the white flag and potentially avoids playing Ohio State next week,” he said. “And then they’ll potentially get a game on the 19th. Michigan could opt out of that game and keep Ohio State out of six games to qualify for the Big Ten Championship. That could potentially happen next week.”
Herbstreit believes the circumstances are aligning in such a way that makes this scenario plausible.
“I don’t know all the numbers as far as COVID is concerned, but we live in such a strange world that they really feel teams are opting out to avoid playing games,” he said.
“They don’t want to get humiliated or lose with the team they have. They don’t want to get embarrassed. There’s a lot of that being talked about around the country.
“I have no idea what Michigan’s situation is, but they have to the power to say, hey, we’re not playing next week.”
Because Ohio State’s game against Illinois was cancelled last week, the Buckeyes are facing a dangerous situation where they could miss the six-game threshold necessary to play for a conference title.
Michigan is 2-4 on the year and would almost certainly get humiliated by Ohio State, so it stands to reason why Herbstreit would be concerned about this.
Will the Wolverines really take such a cowardly action, though? Time will tell.