If another Big Ten game had been canceled this week, Ohio State would have been able to play this weekend.
According to ESPN's Heather Dinich, Big Ten presidents approved a process earlier this month that will allow conference teams to schedule a new game against each other if both of their games are canceled by their opponent due to COVID-19 issues in the same week, provided that those two teams aren't dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks themselves and that the new game can be scheduled by Wednesday of that week.
Per Dinich, teams would be allowed to schedule a new game against each other even if they have already played earlier in the season or are scheduled to play later in the season.
It's possible we could see more of the scheduling shuffle we saw today in the @pac12. On Nov. 5, @bigten presidents and chancellors approved a process that allows 2 teams w/o COVID issues that have had games cancelled in the same week to play each other. (more)— Heather Dinich (@CFBHeather) November 14, 2020
In the Big Ten, the decision has to be made by noon CT on the Wednesday of that week for a Saturday game. Doesn't matter if both teams have already played or are scheduled to play later. That's different from the @SEC which has similar plan but doesn't allow rematches. (more)— Heather Dinich (@CFBHeather) November 14, 2020
Dinich's report comes after the Pac-12 announced Friday that California and UCLA will play each other on Sunday at noon after their games that were originally scheduled to be played Saturday were both canceled due to COVID-19 outbreaks at Arizona State and Utah.
UPDATE: Statement below regarding new scheduled #Pac12FB game this Sunday, Nov. 15 between Cal & UCLA:— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) November 13, 2020
@CalFootball at @UCLAFootball
Sunday, Nov. 15
9am PT | 12pm ET
FS1 | @CFBONFOX pic.twitter.com/RgQFBaIP9X
The Big Ten is not allowing teams to replace canceled games with non-conference games, which prevented Ohio State from scheduling a new game for this weekend after its scheduled game against Maryland was canceled on Wednesday due to eight positive COVID-19 tests in Maryland's football program. Ryan Day said Thursday that he would have been in favor of playing a game against a new opponent this weekend if the Big Ten had allowed the Buckeyes to do that.
“It’s hard to look your team in your eye and tell them they can’t play when they’ve done everything you’ve asked them to do,” Day said on the Dan Patrick Show. “I know it’s not as easy as just saying, ‘Let’s just go schedule a game.’ There’s a lot of implications and different things that have to go into play, so I totally respect that. But certainly would be in favor of trying to find a way to get it done. But I also understand the complexity of it all.”
Surely, the Big Ten will hope it does not need to schedule new games because multiple teams cannot play in the same week. But after a week in which 15 college football games were canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 spikes throughout the country, that flexibility – albeit flexibility that will only benefit teams if there's another conference team who needs a new game in the same week – could be necessary for the Big Ten to play as many games as possible over the next four weeks in a season that was already drastically shortened.