NCAA

Ohio State May Have Just Lost Their Shot at a National Championship Due to COVID-19

Ohio State’s football team has been one of the top teams in college football during the 2020 season. Though the team currently has a 4-0 record, their hopes for playing for a Big Ten title and a national championship could be in jeopardy. Ohio State was getting ready for their next game against Illinois when bad news struck.

Their game against Illinois was canceled because of COVID-19 cases within the program. This is not the first time Ohio State has had to cancel a game because of COVID-19. This could put their season in jeopardy.

Ohio State was one win away from the national championship last season

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During the 2019-20 season, Ohio State dominated on the football field. There was no question who the top team in the Big Ten was. Ohio State had no problem beating teams throughout the Big Ten. The most points that a Big Ten team scored against Ohio State was 27. It was the final game of the regular season, and Ohio State took on their rival, Michigan. Though Michigan put up 27 points, Ohio State responded by putting up 56 points. That was the second time Ohio State put up 56 points during the season.

Ohio State was a scoring machine throughout the season. The team had a field day against Maryland as they put up 73 points during the regular season. This was one of the top offensive teams in the country, and they had what it took to play for a national championship. After defeating Wisconsin in the Big Ten title, Ohio State advanced to the College Football Playoffs.

Ohio State took on Clemson in the National Semifinal game, and it was one to remember. Both teams went back and forth, and it felt like a national championship game instead of a semifinal game. Ohio State had a chance to win the game, but Justin Fields threw an interception in Clemson’s territory, which ended Ohio State’s chances at a national title. 

Ohio State starting off strong in 2020

Though the Big Ten Conference got a late start to the 2020 season, Ohio State was eager to get back on the field. Ohio State started the season off strong as they dominated in their first game against Nebraska. The Buckeyes put up 52 points in the season opener and finished with a total of 491 yards on offense. It was evident that Ohio State had their eyes on returning to the College Football Playoffs.

The Buckeyes went on to improve their record to 4-0 after an epic battle against Indiana. Though Ohio State started the season later than other teams, they were still considered one of the top-ranked college football teams. 

Championship hopes are in jeopardy for Ohio State

One thing that college teams had to keep in mind was that there’s still a pandemic going on. For Ohio State, they have been on the wrong end of the stick of that spectrum. Ohio State had to cancel their game on Nov. 14 against Maryland because of COVID-19 cases at Maryland. Canceling football games could put teams title hopes in jeopardy, and that’s certainly the case for Ohio State.

With one cancellation already, Ohio State had to cancel their game against Illinois. According to Yahoo! Sports, Ohio State announced a little bit before 10:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 27 that they would not be traveling to Illinois. Ohio State announced earlier that day that head coach Ryan Day tested positive for COVID-19.

“We have continued to experience an increase in positive tests over the course of this week,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. “The health, safety and well-being of our student-athlete is our main concern, and our decisions on their welfare will continue to be guided by our medical staff.” Before the season, the Big Ten announced that any team with more than two canceled games would not be eligible for the Big Ten title. Ohio State has two more games on Dec. 5, and Dec. 12, and those games can not be canceled if Ohio State wants to keep their hopes alive to play for a Big Ten title and a national championship.