That’s it. That’s the story. The headline says it all. According to Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, who you should absolutely follow because she’s amazing at her job, Purdue football is cancelling practice amid a wait for Covid test results.
News: The Purdue football program has canceled practice Tuesday to evaluate the results of recent COVID-19 testing.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) December 8, 2020
Now, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean the game against IU is cancelled. This likely means there were presumptive positive cases and they are now waiting on a confirmatory positive test(s) to come back. This does mean that the game is in jeopardy. Generally these second tests take approximately 24 hours to get back so we will hopefully know more about this by tomorrow evening.
If you’re into conspiracy theories this all was announced just moments after the game between Michigan and Ohio State was cancelled due to Covid. This will be the first time this game hasn’t been played since 1917 which saw the Flu Pandemic and World War I. This cancellation puts Ohio State below the threshold to play in the conference title game. This would mean that IU would be the team to take their place. The conference can still change the rules but that would be absurd, underhanded, and unfair to an IU team that did everything right this season. Sure, these cancellations haven’t been Ohio State’s fault so I understand the argument there but all of these teams knew the situation going in.
Right now, the rules state that in order to play in the B1G title game a team must play six games. Right now OSU has played five games and sit at 5-0. According to the conference, the title game participants will be determined by the winners of the division with the important caveat of number of games played. From the conference website:
A team must play at least six games to be considered for participation in the championship game. However, if the average number of conference games played by all teams falls below six, with the average rounded up/down at .50 (i.e. 6.50 or greater would round up to 7, 6.49 or less would round down to 6), then teams must play no less than two fewer conference games than the average number of conference games played by all teams (i.e. four games played if the conference average is six) to be considered.
As of this writing there have been a total of 41 games (or 82 combined wins and losses) played throughout the season. Divide that by 14 teams in the conference (I was told there would be no math as a blogger yet here I am) and you get an average of 5.85 games per team. That rounds up to 6 based on the conference’s criteria. Meaning that Ohio State would fall below the line. However, there is still one week left. We know that Ohio State vs. Michigan is cancelled and we now know there is a possibility that Purdue vs. IU gets cancelled. That would mean that there will have been a total of 46 games played in conference this season (or 92 combined wins and losses). Divide that number by 14 and you get 6.57 games per team meaning that Ohio State is still shut out. The only way for Ohio State to get in is for numerous other games to be cancelled or for the conference to change their rules. (Someone is definitely gonna want to check my math but I’m pretty sure I did this right.)
For now, let’s hope that these Purdue tests come back negative and we get to see one more regular season Boilermaker football game this year. If they come back positive let’s hope whoever it is can fight it and return healthy for next year.