One of the biggest college football games of the year is not happening. On Tuesday, it was announced that the annual battle between the University of Michigan and Ohio State University has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. The Michigan Athletic Department said an "increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases and student-athletes in quarantine over the past week" has led to the cancellation of the rivalry game.
"The number of positive tests has continued to trend in an upward direction over the last seven days," Warde Manuel, U-M’s Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics, said in a statement. "We have not been cleared to participate in practice at this time. Unfortunately, we will not be able to field a team due to COVID-19 positives and the associated quarantining required of close contact individuals. This decision is disappointing for our team and coaches but their health and safety is paramount, and it will always come first in our decision-making."
DETAILS » https://t.co/hwCCA91ZWL— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) December 8, 2020
Michigan was forced to cancel its game against Maryland on Dec. 5 due to the coronavirus. The program was cleared for workouts on Monday, but the school decided to cancel the game due to the number of positive cases and the number of student-athletes in quarantine. Michigan will continue to test daily as they look to get back on the field before the season comes to an end. The Wolverines have played six games this season and recorded a 2-4 record. They are scheduled to play again on Dec. 19, but the opponent has yet to be determined.
The move makes things interesting for Ohio State as the team is ranked No. 4 in the College Football Playoff Rankings. They have played five games, but under current Big Ten Rules, the Buckeyes need to play six games to be eligible to play in the Big Ten Championship against Northwestern. According to ESPN, the Big Ten athletic directors are set to meet Wednesday to discuss the next move.
It's possible the conference could change the rules to get Ohio State in the championship game. As of right now, Indiana would represent the East Division over Ohio State in the title game despite Ohio State beating Indiana a few weeks ago. Indiana has played seven games and suffered only one loss. The Hoosiers will face Purdue on Saturday.