The Big Ten has been left out of the College Football Playoff for the last two years and the conference will hope that streak doesn’t extend this season. The 2019 Big Ten Championship will play a critical role in that equation.
The conference championship game will be played on Dec. 7, 2019 inside Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.
Ohio State currently holds a one-game lead over Penn State in the Big Ten East through Week 12 and the two schools will play in Columbus in Week 13. Minnesota has a one-game lead over Wisconsin in the Big Ten West and the Gophers will host the Badgers in Week 14.
Ohio State defeated Northwestern 45-24 in last year’s Big Ten Championship but the 12-1 Buckeyes finished sixth in the selection committee’s final rankings. A two-loss Ohio State team that won the Big Ten Championship over Wisconsin was left out of the playoff in the season prior.
However, Ohio State wasn’t the preseason favorite to win the conference this season, at least according to the conference’s media members. In a preseason media poll conducted by cleveland.com, Michigan was a slight favorite to win the Big Ten East, receiving 20 first-place votes to Ohio State’s 14, while Nebraska was a slight favorite in the Big Ten West over Iowa.
The most common Big Ten Championship Game predictions were Michigan over Nebraska and Michigan over Iowa – both scenarios received eight of a possible 34 votes.
Since the Big Ten added a championship game in the 2011 season, the Wolverines have never played in the conference championship. Ohio State has won three conference titles, Michigan State and Wisconsin have won two, and Penn State has won one.