It’s unclear if Michigan will still be crowned the Big Ten champion if it doesn’t play close to 20 games, but it’s becoming quite clear they won’t reach that mark.
According to a report from mlive.com, Illinois’ Feb. 11 date with the Wolverines in Ann Arbor has been canceled as Michigan Athletics’ pause on sports continues with players reportedly not having enough days to practice before the game.
Michigan, who is ranked No. 4 in the nation, hasn’t played since Jan. 22. Shortly after that, the athletic department shut down all sports activity due to a recommendation from the state’s health department following several strains of a COVID variant found inside the department.
Next Thursday’s matchup — which likely would be a top-10 showdown if Illinois beats No. 19 Wisconsin on Saturday — would have been Michigan’s first game back. It would also potentially have Big Ten title implications, with Illinois sitting a game behind (two losses back) of Michigan.
If Illinois can’t find a makeup game, the Illini would go 10 days without playing again. That’s between home games against Wisconsin (Saturday) and Northwestern (Feb. 16).
Would the Big Ten pull an Ohio State and give Michigan the Big Ten title if the Wolverines couldn’t come close to 20 games conference games? It’s unclear, but Illinois just has to keep winning.