Ohio State resumes some team activities; no word on whether Buckeyes will play Saturday


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Even though no games were played, Big Ten football teams kept making news Monday, including Ohio State.

A team representative for Ohio State’s football program said Monday afternoon that team activities have resumed for players not quarantined or in isolation.

“Ohio State players not quarantined or in isolation did return to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for small group workouts today and throughout the day today. All meetings are being conducted virtually,” the statement read.

After their game Saturday at Illinois was canceled because of positive COVID-19 tests in the program, the Buckeyes have yet to say whether they expect to play Saturday at Michigan State or to provide an update on the health of coach Ryan Day, one of those who tested positive. It is unknown how many players might have tested positive or who they are.

Ohio State (4-0) is third in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 and fourth in last week’s College Football Playoff poll. One thing that could help the Buckeyes in the eyes of the playoff selection committee is to not miss any more games and to reach the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 19 in Indianapolis. To qualify under the current scenario, the Buckeyes need to play at least six games, unless enough of the remaining league games are canceled to lower the average per team below six.

If Ohio State is unable to play any of its remaining games, Indiana (5-1) is next in line to represent the East in the conference championship game. But on Monday, the Hoosiers announced that quarterback Michael Penix Jr. will miss the rest of this season because of a torn anterior ligament.

Penix was injured Saturday during a victory over Maryland. The Hoosiers are 12th in the playoff rankings and 10th in the AP poll.

The West’s representative is expected to be Northwestern, which got one step closer to clinching its spot Monday when its game Saturday at Minnesota was canceled because of positive tests in the Golden Gophers program. The Wildcats are 5-1 and ranked eighth in the playoff rankings and 16th in the AP poll.

If Ohio State cannot play at Michigan State, then the regular season is scheduled to end Dec. 12 at Ohio Stadium against Michigan. But Michigan is also experiencing issues with COVID-19 in its program and on Monday paused all team activities while awaiting word on tests believed to be positive.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Michigan football is going to hold everything virtually,” coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters. “We had an increased number of presumptive positives that are awaiting confirmation. Like everything, it just goes along with the culture that’s been set here since June. This is day-to-day.”

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