Over the last few weeks, it has become inevitable that the college football season was in jeopardy.
Although players, coaches and, of course, fans have been loud and outspoken about wanting to play, on Tuesday, a major domino would fall.
Two of the most prestigious conferences in the NCAA pulled the plug on playing football this fall as both the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced they would not be playing fall sports including football this year.
Many had the feeling that these would be the first two conferences to say no to playing this fall. The Big Ten was intentionally the first team to release a 2020 altered schedule leading to believe they were set to play this season.
Mentioning concerns with the pandemic and safety of the players, first-year Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren made the Big Ten the first of the Power Five conferences to pull the plug.
The Pac-12 followed meaning at this point, 40% of the major college football teams have now decided to not play football this fall.
Top tier teams now such as Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Oregon, USC, Arizona State and countless others will now attempt to put together a plan for football in the spring.
As of today, the SEC, ACC and Big 12 of the Power Five plus the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA and Sun Belt have made no immediate moves. The three remaining Power Five conferences have made their intentions known they still have plans to play this fall.
While the pandemic is a great concern of every team and conference in the nation, one thing that should be addressed as soon as possible is that college football in the spring in not feasible.
Playing a sport as grueling as college football, especially for positions like linemen and running backs, is just not possible twice in one calendar year.
Plus, if there is a chance that the SEC, ACC, Big 12 or any mix of those figure out a way to play in the fall, it will make it even more likely that there could be no spring football season for just the Big Ten and/or Pac-12.
Especially if the NFL Draft chooses to not move the NFL Draft which is scheduled for April 2021. Even if they were to postpone or move it to the summer, top tier prospects would not play and put themselves at risk of getting injured that close to becoming a pro.
If spring college football some how did happen, it wouldn’t be anything like you would watch in the fall. Key players would be missing, rankings would be skewed and would we even have a Playoff or bowl games?
Flying under the radar in all of this is the Pac-12 is now the first to make a statement about basketball as well. Just like football players, coaches and fans held on hope during the college basketball shut down earlier in the year about playing, the roles have now switched.
Unfortunately, unless some-how college basketball can figure out a modified “bubble” style similar to what the NBA and WNBA is using very successfully, we’re about to enter another sports season with a massive gap.
At this point, if we can’t play college football, we’re not playing college basketball either.
Pac-12 not only called off fall football, but they also said there will be NO sports until at least January 2021 cutting out the first half of the basketball season on the west coast.
It’s time to get real about all this. You’re either playing football this fall or you’re not until fall of 2021.
Will there be any teams start to rebel? I mean, Ohio State was without question going to be a National Contender this year. Michigan’s head coach Jim Harbaugh has been one of the most outspoken about wanting to play this fall.
What happens if they reach out to the SEC or ACC about playing some games? The AAC is on the outside-looking-in when it comes to the Power Five, so what if they reach out to Ohio State and Michigan while Nebraska wants to play some SEC teams and Oregon reaches out to the Big 12?
How can the NCAA say no to them? Will players transfer? Will coaches like Harbaugh, David Shaw, Scott Frost and Chris Petersen start looking at NFL jobs?
Without question, there will be severe repercussions if the Big Ten and Pac-12 don’t play, but the other Power Five conferences do play in the fall. It’s safe to bet that the landscape of college football would never be the same following a year that has changed the lives of millions.
I’m anxious for the next couple of weeks because I expect much more changes and announcements from the teams that have now cancelled their season plus there is without question a possibility more conferences could also pull the plug on their season soon as well.
As we said in March when this reared its ugly head, when it comes to looking forward to anything in 2020, don’t hold your breath…especially when it comes to college athletics this years.