In most years, the Big Ten champion is committed to playing in the Rose Bowl. Since the winner of this year's Big Ten Championship Game is likely destined for the College Football Playoff, Rose Bowl organizers will have a few different options available to them for a representative from the conference.
Scott Jenkins, the Rose Bowl management committee chairman, confirmed the committee technically isn't required to invite the highest-ranked Big Ten team after the conference champion.
"The strong presumption is that we're going to go with the highest-ranked team that's available to us," Jenkins said Wednesday, per ESPN.com's Heather Dinich. "Only in extraordinary situations will we deviate from that presumption."
He cited commercial concerns and wanting to create a better aesthetic matchup among the reasons for overlooking the No. 2 team in the conference.
This scenario is particularly pertinent this year with the Ohio State Buckeyes failing to make the Big Ten championship. The reigning national champions may not be the second-highest team once the final CFP rankings are revealed, so Jenkins and his committee members might face one of those "extraordinary situations."
According to Dinich, Jenkins said the group would "discuss [Ohio State in the Rose Bowl] in detail in our committee over the weekend, but especially on Sunday morning."
Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel argued a few days ago that Ohio State may not be the lock some expect for Pasadena, California:
ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit remains confident in the contrary:
While the Rose Bowl holds special meaning for Big Ten schools, missing out on the game wouldn't be the end of the world for Iowa, Michigan State or Ohio State.
The CFP selection committee will in all likelihood have three Big Ten teams take part in the New Year's Six bowl games. Whomever the Rose Bowl opts against taking should land in the Peach Bowl or Fiesta Bowl, which would still be a lucrative, prestigious way to close the 2015 season.