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Why a Cancelled Game Should Be a “Forfeit” and Not a “No Contest”

This isn’t just about Nebraska and Wisconsin. This could be about Michigan and Ohio State.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

To be clear, I absolutely understand why Wisconsin decided to postpone football related activities. It appears that COVID-19 is making its way through their program. At the same time the state of Wisconsin is seeing record highs of confirmed deaths and hospitalizations.

I believe Wisconsin would have cancelled the game even if Graham Mertz had not tested positive. They still would have wanted to play even if they were down to their 4th string quarterback. In fact would anybody have been surprised if they beat Nebraska with a 4th string quarterback? I wouldn’t have. I actually was planning on picking Wisconsin even if they had to play with Danny Vanden Boom.

Remember this is the program that ran the ball 22ish straight times a couple years ago and decimated the Nebraska defense. It was embarrassing. They could have done that again on Saturday.

I understand why the Big Ten decided to go the “No Contest” route in this situation. That doesn’t mean that I agree with them.

Some of the pushback to characterizing the cancelled game as a “forfeit” is that Nebraska didn’t earn it or that there was actually no football game played. They have also said that we don’t want to break Wisconsin’s eight game winning streak over Nebraska by a “forfeit.”

Do you really think Wisconsin football fans would stop hanging that over Nebraska’s head because of a technicality. Even though it Nebraska would “technically” win in 2020, EVERYBODY knows that we didn’t earn it on the field. Nebraska fans would accept the fact that the eight game winning streak should and would continue into 2021.

Since this is a Nebraska sports sight and I’m obviously biased I want to take Nebraska and Wisconsin out of the the conversation. Instead lets insert Michigan and Ohio State.

Pulled from the Big Ten Website:

The following procedure will determine the representative from each division in the event of a tie:

If two teams are tied, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative.

If three or more teams are tied, steps 1 through 8 will be followed until a determination is made. If only two teams remain tied after any step (or sub-step), the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative. If three or more teams remain tied after any step, move to next step in tiebreaker with remaining tied teams.

Unless, there are additional tie breakers that I simply do not see (and please point them out), the only tie breaker the conference currently has is the winner of the head-to-head matchup. There is not a secondary tie breaker for a two team tie.

What is the Conference going to do if Ohio State and Michigan are 7-0 going into their December 12th matchup and Ohio State has to cancel because their team positivity rate exceeds the Big 10 protocols? Who would they send to the conference championship game?

At this point (unless they are actually proactive) they would probably go to their list of tiebreakers from the three team tie category, which in essence would be picking the winner and thus the Big Ten East representative.

In fact, I hope when choosing a secondary tie breaker for a two team tie that the Big Ten picks the last tie breaker from the three team tie list.

It would be a random draw. Essentially the East Division representative would be chosen by flipping a coin.

That would be perfect.