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Big Ten Announces Forfeit Rules For COVID-19 Cancellations

August 25, 2021
Big Ten releases covid policy for 2021

The Big Ten Conference has announced its policy regarding COVID-19 forfeits in 2021, with conference games not being rescheduled as they were a season ago if they’re unable to be played as scheduled. Rather than being rescheduled, the games would be considered forfeits by the team that is unable to play due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Big Ten released a statement about the new policy stating, “In collaboration and communication with the Big Ten Conference athletic directors, chancellors and presidents, the Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases, and the Sports Medicine Committee — effective today — the conference has determined that if one of its member institutions is unable to play a conference contest due to COVID-19, that contest shall be declared a forfeit and will not be rescheduled.”

The conference started late last season, canceling its 2020 campaign before going back on that decision and playing an abbreviated schedule, with built-in weeks for possible postponements. Multiple games were postponed and canceled, with some teams playing as many as eight conference contests while others, including Big Ten Championship Game winner Ohio State, played only five.

Helping The Buckeyes

The league changed its initial rule that a team had to have played a minimum of six games to qualify for the conference championship game last season when the Buckeyes had only five games in conference play. That enabled unbeaten Ohio State to play in the title game, which it won and advanced to the College Football Playoff.

Ohio State had three games canceled due to COVID-19 cases in 2020. If the new rule had been in effect last season, Indiana would have advanced to the championship game.

As far as this season’s odds for the conference title, the Buckeyes are a heavy favorite to win again according to the BetUS Sportsbook’s Big Ten conference odds. Ohio State has -230 odds at BetUS Sportsbook, followed by Wisconsin at +550 and Penn State at +800.

Also, based on the BetUS sportsbook’s NCAAF Championship odds, the Buckeyes are also one of the favorites for the national title, with odds of +600. Alabama leads the odds board at +250, while Clemson is next at +350. Georgia is at +500, followed by Ohio State at +600 and Oklahoma at +700.

Notre Dame, Iowa State Top AP All-America Teams

The Associated Press announced its preseason All-American team on Monday, with Notre Dame and Iowa State each having three players selected. The Cyclones had running back Breece Hall, tight end Charlie Kolar, and linebacker Mike Rose as picks, while the Irish are represented by defensive back Kyle Hamilton, offensive guard Cain Madden and running back Kyren Williams, who was picked as an all-purpose player.

The first-team quarterback is Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler, with his teammate, linebacker Nik Bonitto, also being selected. North Carolina’s Sam Howell is the second-team quarterback.

Defending national champion Alabama had two players selected for the team: linebacker Will Anderson Jr. and offensive tackle Evan Neal. Clemson is represented by wide receiver Justyn Ross and defensive lineman Bryan Bresee.

Other position players selected were first-team running back Bijan Robinson of Texas, along with second-team selections Mohamed Ibrahim of Minnesota and Isaiah Spiller of Texas A&M. The first-team wide receivers are Chris Olave of Ohio State and Ross, while the second team features the Buckeyes’ Garrett Wilson and the Crimson Tide’s John Metchie III.

Rattler has been installed as the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this season, with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Georgia signal-caller J.T. Daniels right behind him. Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Howell are also in the mix.

Fiesta Bowl Announces Deal With Caesars

The Fiesta Bowl Organization announced a multi-year deal with Caesars Entertainment on Monday, bringing legal sports gambling in Arizona together with one of the biggest bowl games in college football. It’s the first partnership between a bowl game and a sports betting company.

Caesars will host fan lounges at the Fiesta Bowl, which is played in Glendale, Ariz., as well as the Guaranteed Rate Bowl which is held in Phoenix. Sports betting is set to be legalized in Arizona on Sept. 9.

“Five years ago, this was probably taboo or you didn’t even speak of it,” Fiesta Bowl chief marketing officer Jose Moreno said. “But this is the evolution of sports as a whole, and we’re excited for it.”