Why Wisconsin is now ineligible for Big Ten title as COVID-19 rule clears way for Northwestern

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Why Wisconsin is now ineligible for Big Ten title as COVID-19 rule clears way for Northwestern

Wisconsin no longer has an opportunity to play in the Big Ten championship game after its upcoming game against Minnesota was canceled because of COVID-19 concerns.

The Badgers can play a maximum of five contests this year following the Tuesday announcement, which isn’t enough to be eligible for a conference crown. They were the primary West division threat to undefeated Northwestern, despite already losing to the Wildcats.

Now, Northwestern can clinch a Big Ten championship berth with one win out of its final three games. Ohio State would likely await the program if it successfully navigates the end of its regular season against Michigan State, Minnesota and Illinois.

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As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the Midwest, Minnesota has been unable to shake a team outbreak. The Gophers were without 11 infected players during Saturday’s game against Purdue, according to the Star Tribune, and had been meeting virtually in a last-ditch effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Minnesota determined Tuesday it would not be able to safely face Wisconsin.

Wisconsin already had its scheduled games against Nebraska and Purdue wiped because of COVID-19, and it entered the week knowing its Big Ten championship game ambitions were in jeopardy. A 17-7 loss to Northwestern had made the Badgers’ chances of reaching that platform slim anyway.

This is the first year Wisconsin and Minnesota have been unable to meet since 1906.

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