NCAA Football News and Notes: Big Ten Cancels Non-Conference Games

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The Big Ten announced that they are going to cancel all non-conference games for all fall sports. The conference touted medical advice as the reasoning behind the cancellations.

Most teams will play three fewer games and should be able to push back practice another week or two to buy more time for the safety of the students. Let’s be honest, though, as practice will most likely continue, but they don’t have to shell out the money to play buy games without fans in attendance.

Yes, this will eliminate some of the longer travel that some teams would have had to deal with, but not all the games were non-regional. Illinois was supposed to open its season against Illinois State, which is 40 miles away. You can’t honestly tell me it is safer for them to travel to Rutgers than to play a team a short bus ride away.

This will also affect a lot of the smaller schools that were counting on a couple of buy games to increase their athletics budget. Ball State, for example, had two buy games against Big Ten teams and will now be out over $1.5 million.

Pac-12 Moves To Conference-Only Schedule

One day after the Big Ten announced a conference-only schedule, the Pac-12 did the same. The league hasn’t announced what exactly the schedule will look like.

The assumption is that they will add at least one more game to everyone’s schedule. BYU will be making some phone calls as all three of its non-conference games were scheduled against Pac-12 teams.

The other three Power 5 conferences have said they will wait until late July before making any decisions on non-conference games. I would imagine that the SEC will be the last conference to cancel, but that everyone will move to this format for 2020 if there is a season at all.

Spring 2021 College Football?

What would a spring season of college football look like? With vaccines seemingly on the horizon, should we punt on a fall season and wait for spring?

This would make a lot of sense but would create logistical nightmares for teams and conferences. It would also affect the draft-eligible players as they would have very little time to rest and prepare for the combine and the draft.

The NCAA should wait for the MLB season to begin so they can anticipate what their season might look like. Football is a contact sport, so it will be much tougher for cases not to spread than it is in non-contact sports like baseball.

Take the time to really study what the pro leagues do so that you can carry out a season that is as safe as possible. People will get COVID-19 that is a given, but how do you handle positives and adjust on the fly.

A spring season would give science more time to figure out a vaccine and treatments. While it isn’t traditional, it might be our only option for college football this year.

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