Exploring the Most Likely Matchups for the 2020 Big Ten Football Championship Game

By David Regimbal on April 2, 2020 at 10:10 am
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields

Ohio State is finding a second home in Indianapolis.

The Buckeyes have made it to the Big Ten Championship Game in five of the last seven years and came away winners in their last four visits. They've faced Michigan State (before conference realignment), Wisconsin and Northwestern during that span and were kept out of the title game by the Spartans and Penn State via tiebreaker in 2015 and 2016.

The 2020 title race won't technically start for another five months (please, kindly go away coronavirus), but Ohio State is currently favored to win the conference championship game for the fourth year in a row.

Who will the Buckeyes face if they do in fact make it to Indianapolis? And if head coach Ryan Day and Ohio State fall short, who will be the East Division representative?

Let's explore some 2020 Big Ten Championship Game scenarios.

Ohio State vs. Wisconsin, Part 4

The Buckeyes and Badgers have clashed in the Big Ten title game three times (2014, '17 and '19), with Ohio State winning all three.

The most convincing win, of course, came in 2014 when a 59-0 thrashing propelled the Buckeyes to claiming the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship.

The last two meetings have been more competitive, with Ohio State securing a 27-21 win in 2017 and then storming back from a 21-7 halftime deficit with 27 unanswered points in a 34-21 victory last December.

If the Badgers want to repeat as West Division winners, they'll have to replace record-setting running back Jonathan Taylor, receiver Quintez Cephus (who caught seven passes for 122 yards against Ohio State in the title game last year), and a number of key defensive starters.

Ohio State vs. Minnesota

The Buckeyes haven't faced off against Minnesota since 2018. It felt longer than that, but that's probably because it happened the week before Purdue beat Ohio State 49-20 and the brain has a great way of protecting us from harmful memories.

Head coach P.J. Fleck is doing a tremendous job building up the Gophers program. Minnesota won five games in his first year in 2017, seven games the following year and then broke out last season, winning 11 games and finishing the season with a 31-24 win over Auburn in the Outback Bowl and the No. 10 ranking in the final AP Poll.

Quarterback Tanner Morgan is back after throwing 30 touchdowns ago, and the sting of the loss of receiver Tyler Johnson is lessened by the return of Rashod Bateman, who caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.

Penn State vs. Wisconsin

If Ohio State doesn't make it to the title game for the fourth consecutive year, Penn State will likely be the reason.

The Nittany Lions have been the Buckeyes' biggest divisional challenger over the last four seasons and that's not expected to change in 2020. Sean Clifford returns alongside all-star Pat Freiermuth, forming what should be the best quarterback-tight end combo in the league.

Penn State's schedule sets them up for success as well. They get Michigan early (second week of the Big Ten schedule) and host Ohio State this year. If Fox can't wrangle them into the Big Noon kickoff slot (please do this, Fox), the Buckeyes are certainly destined for a White Out in Happy Valley.

That game could very well determine who makes the trip to Indianapolis this December.

Michigan vs. Wisconsin

Ah shoot, April Fools was yesterday. My bad.

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