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How the B1G returning impacts the College Football Playoff

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Could the party crashers find their way into the big dance?

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

BIG TEN FOOTBALL IS BACK.

**queue the hype video with Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful people in the background**

**runs through a brick wall**

Alright. So we’re actually here. The Big Ten has decided to reinstate the 2020 football season, and will begin an abbreviated season with games starting on October 24th.

With the Pac-12 still currently off for the fall, this makes the College Football Playoff picture a bit more muddy. Four of the “Power Five” conferences are now playing in some fashion this fall (ACC, Big 12, Big 10, SEC). The Big Ten Championship Game this season will take place on December 20th, one day prior the announcement of the College Football Playoff field. While the Big Ten teams will have played less games, an argument can certainly be made that they’ll be able to make their case for worthiness into the CFP.

Realistically, there are three, maybe five, teams with a legitimate chance at making the CFP. In the Big Ten West, you’re likely looking at Wisconsin or, as much as it pains me to say this, Minnesota. Wisconsin did not have any players opt-out of the season during this hiatus from football, while Minnesota lost future top-50 draft prospect WR Rashod Bateman.

In the Big Ten East, I’d argue Penn State and Michigan also have a puncher’s chance, but Ohio State is the obvious front-runner. Penn State has lost All-Everything LB Micah Parsons due to an opt-out, and he has signed an agent, costing him his “amateur” status. Pat Freiermuth, their NFL prospect TE has also recently opted out, so it’ll be interesting to see how that is handled regarding a return to competition. Michigan lost NFL prospect starting RT Jalen Mayfield. Ohio State, however, has had a couple players opt out that are major NFL prospects in CB Shaun Wade and OG Wyatt Davis.

Obviously the Big Ten hasn’t yet and won’t play for a while, and the SEC also hasn’t started yet, but my extremely educated guess-o-meter is pointing in this direction for two of the spots:

1. Clemson

2. Oklahoma

3.

4.

The other two are obviously up for debate, but I’m also going to go out on a major limb here and predict that Alabama finds their way back into the playoff.

In that scenario, we’re left with: Georgia (one loss likely), LSU (one loss likely but not in SECCG), Florida (one loss likely but not in SECCG), and then Ohio State or potentially another B1G team if they win the B1GCG. This is where things get mucky, and a lot of fans get mad that **insert team they cheer for** is either 1. punished by the SEC-bias (allegedly) or 2. is rewarded for not playing in the SEC’s murderer’s row of a schedule (might have some legs).

Obviously there’s a lot that can and will change even before the Big Ten takes the field for a real game in October, but it’s definitely a major wrench into the mix with the Big Ten re-emerging as a football playing conference in this year from hell.

College football always has been and always will be an agent of chaos. And here’s the thing: we can’t control a damn thing about it. So sit back, enjoy some brats and beers, and get ready for 11 a.m. kickoffs between Maryland and Rutgers and also Iowa punting from their opponent’s 39 yard line.

BIG TEN FOOTBALL IS BACK BAYBAY.