COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio State’s annual football game with Michigan appears to be in jeopardy.
Michigan canceled its game against Maryland on Wednesday afternoon because of positive COVID-19 tests in the Wolverines program. A statement from the team said the soonest the team could resume practice is Monday.
The Buckeyes and Wolverines are scheduled to meet on noon on Saturday, Dec. 12.
“The decision by our medical professionals to stop practices and cancel this Saturday’s game against Maryland was made with the health, safety and welfare of the student-athletes, coaches and staff as our utmost priority,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said. “We have seen an increase in the number of student-athletes unavailable to compete due to positive tests and associated contact tracing.”
Ohio State canceled its game last Saturday at Illinois because of COVID-19 cases in its program, including coach Ryan Day. The Buckeyes are currently preparing for their game Saturday at Michigan State with associate head coach Larry Johnson filling in for Day.
Ohio State is 4-0, in first place in the Big Ten’s East Division and ranked fourth in the College Football Playoff poll. To qualify for the Big Ten championship game, the Buckeyes need to play at least six games under the current scenario. It is possible that the number of games could drop below six if enough of the remaining conference games are canceled.
The Big Ten is giving teams that do not qualify for the championship game the option to play a conference opponent on Dec. 19. It is not necessary for the Buckeyes to compete in or win the championship game to be selected for the playoff.