Last week, when the College Football Playoff selection committee released its first rankings of the season, the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes were in the precarious No. 4 position, looking up at the one-loss Clemson Tigers.
And that was before an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases within the program put the rest of Ohio State's season in jeopardy.
Now, there's no guarantee Ohio State will be able to play enough games to be eligible to compete in the Big Ten Conference championship game. Saturday's contest against Illinois was the second Ohio State game canceled this season, along with the Nov. 14 trip to Maryland, because of COVID-19 concerns within the Terrapins' program. According to the Big Ten, a team must play at least six games to participate in the conference title game. If the average number of games played in the league drops to six or below, that benchmark will also lower.
Here's the good news for Ohio State and its fans: The CFP doesn't require teams to play a minimum number of games to qualify for a semifinal.