Look, it is 2020. There are no rules anymore.
In order to get through the season during a pandemic, college football has had to be flexible.
Conferences have started their respective seasons at various points. Games have been postponed, canceled or rearranged on the schedule. The Big Ten might change its minimum-game requirement mid-season to accommodate Ohio State.
Heck, even BYU and Coastal Carolina proved that a new opponent could be added to the schedule with only a few days notice. The game ended up costing the Cougars a shot at the College Football Playoff, but it was still the flexible — and correct — choice to make.
Texas A&M and Ohio State need to follow a similar path.
The Aggies had its game against Ole Miss postponed (probably canceled) due to COVID-19 issues within the Rebels program. That development means the No. 5 team in the country is missing out on another opportunity to sway the playoff committee.
They are on the outside looking in.
Jimbo Fisher’s squad isn’t going to the SEC Championship Game, but they’re a team worth watching. Playing No. 4 Ohio State would give the Aggies the opportunity for more attention from the nation and the committee, but this wouldn’t be charity. The game would benefit the Buckeyes too.
Ohio State just had their upcoming game against Michigan canceled as well.
So, let’s lay things out here.
If either Alabama or Notre Dame wins in their conference championship game, that would eliminate one playoff contender — either Florida or Clemson. If both happen, A&M is in a good position to make it in, along with the Crimson Tide, Fighting Irish and Buckeyes.
But if only one happens, the debate is going to come down to either Texas A&M or Ohio State. More than likely, the Buckeyes would get the nod. But if the Aggies had the head-to-head against Ohio State, then they would obviously grab the remaining spot.
It gives them a path — and an argument.
Some might be asking, “OK, then why would Ohio State want to play that game?” It’s a fair question. If only Alabama or Notre Dame wins, then Ohio State is almost a shoo-in anyways.
But what if neither of them do? What if Florida beats the Tide and Clemson prevails in a rematch against the Fighting Irish?
Even if the Big Ten changes the minimum-game requirement and allows Ohio state to earn a Big Ten title, it would still be just a six-win team with a decent resume, not a great one.
In other words, a College Football Playoff appearance isn’t a guarantee for them either. The committee could choose to go with Florida, Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame, two ACC and two SEC teams.
But if Ohio State added a win against the No. 5 team in the country on their way to another Big Ten championship and got to 7-0, that would make the decision a no-brainer. Especially since that added victory would be against a squad that beat Florida and that acts as a major staple on Alabama’s resume.
Ohio State and Texas A&M need each other, even if they won’t admit it. Sure, the Buckeyes could still get in without the game (and so could A&M, theoretically), but it’s a risk.
It would also be fantastic football for all of us.
It’s probably not going to happen, unfortunately. Why? Because Ohio State will probably go with the “we’ll take our chances” approach, and neither the Big Ten nor the SEC currently allows out-of-conference opponents.
Plus, the SEC has a policy in place where games need to be locked in by Monday night.
A man can dream, though.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.