It is finally time to welcome the Big Ten into the football landscape this Fall.  The Big Ten originally thought that postponing football would drive the rest of the conferences to do the same.  They were, until Notre Dame called the ACC about joining them, and the Big Ten was left out.  They finally fell into the pressure of much of America.  So what is the plan and who is the favorite to take the Big Ten.

The Plan

The Big Ten will play an eight game schedule, with the conference championship commencing on December 19th.  They will also have consolation games on the day of the conference championship game.  Teams who are placed two through seven will be playing each other.  There will be daily rapid testing and no fans, except for families, allowed at the games.  The fan situation could change, but for now that is the best way forward for them.

Big Brands Return

Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Penn State and Michigan all play in the Big Ten and are historic programs.  Ohio State has been in the College Football Playoff three out of the six years the playoff has existed.  They won a national championship in 2014 led by current Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.  Michigan State has also made the College Football Playoff once, losing to Alabama in 2015.  Michigan is always right around the playoff, until they run into Ohio State. 

What Does This Mean For The Playoff?

With the Big Ten starting later and playing less games than the other conferences, it comes into question if they should be considered for the playoff.  Normally, it would be that if Ohio State won the Big Ten, they would be in.  But what if a team like Notre Dame lost the ACC Championship game to Clemson, but beat them earlier in the year.  It will be interesting how the committee makes a decision like that, if it comes to that.  With four “Power Five” conferences playing, the four playoff spots should be filled with the conference champions, hopefully. 

Conference Outlook

Ohio State is the obvious choice for winning the conference.  Quarterback Justin Fields is now very much in the Heisman conversation as he is right behind Trevor Lawrence.  He threw 41 touchdowns and only three, yes three interceptions.  Fields is projected to be the second quarterback taken in the draft this season, and he puts Ohio State over the field in the Big Ten.

Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Penn State, and Wisconsin will all be fighting for second, as they normally do, but it is Ohio State’s to lose this season.

There is a lot to iron out, with opt-outs, players declaring for the NFL Draft, and schedules, but it very exciting to see the Big Ten back.  Some of the best football is played here every year, and the conference almost always has a team in the thick of it late in the season.