The Rose Bowl could pass on the Big Ten title game loser between No. 4 Iowa and No. 5 Michigan State and instead select Ohio State.
If the Big Ten champion finishes in the top four of the College Football Playoff as expected, the Rose Bowl does not have to choose either Iowa or Michigan State.
Rose Bowl management committee chairman Scott Jenkins said Wednesday that the Rose Bowl isn't required to take the next highest ranked Big Ten team behind the conference champion.
By contract, the Rose Bowl is guaranteed the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions, but if one or both of those teams finish in the CFP selection committee's top four, the Rose Bowl will then select a replacement team from the conference.
The No. 6 Buckeyes (11-1) potentially could leapfrog either the Hawkeyes (12-0) or Spartans (11-1) in the rankings for a coveted spot in the Rose Bowl.
"In this case any one of those three might be the next highest ranked team, depending on what happens on Saturday," Jenkins told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "The strong presumption is that we're going to go with the highest ranked team that's available to us. Only in extraordinary situations will we deviate from that presumption."
College Football Playoff Selection Day is Sunday at noon ET on ESPN.