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College Football on the Brink, Part 52,007: Big Ten Reportedly Postpones 2020 Season, Will Others Follow?

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
Justin Fields, seen here waving goodbye to college football.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It was a bad weekend for those hoping to see college football played in 2020, with the MAC cancelling it’s season, and a handful of other programs individually opting out of this fall’s competition.

This week isn’t starting out any better. Multiple reports have the Big Ten set to announce by tomorrow that it too will not be playing college football this fall. Immediately, I guess that would mean that Michigan fans may just have to wait a little longer for Jim Harbaugh to find new ways to disappoint them, and that Justin Fields would likely turn pro with one fewer college football playoff wins to his credit than Jake Fromm.

But on to the more serious implications.

Will other conferences follow suit? No one really knows. The PAC-12 was already dealing with a player revolt over not only issues of virus safety but also racial and economic equity. It feels as if they won’t need much of an excuse to shut things down.

But the ACC and SEC each recently made very public scheduling announcements. An about face in the very near future would almost certainly have to come from university presidents, not the athletic officials who have been chugging along in preparation for a season. The whole point of going to conference-only scheduling was to prevent entanglement with the MAC and Big Ten (among others) if they shut down. I still think the odds of the SEC and ACC kicking it off are 50/50 at worst, though I also personally do not believe they’re able to complete a full ten game season. Basically, fans and networks are going to get enough football this year to forestall any ticket/TV deal refunds. Because that’s just business.

No conference wanted to be the first to throw up the white flag on 2020. But if additional dominos fall the question will shift to whether any league wants to be the last to do so. By delaying their season to September 26th the SEC has at least bought time to see both how the other Power 5 leagues move and what happens as students return to member schools’ campuses.

To be clear, that may just be postponing the inevitable. But the SEC has so far given no public indication that it won’t be playing football in about seven weeks. There’s a lot of time between now and then, and I’d expect league officials/ADs and likely University presidents to meet in response to any actual news out of the B1G. If nothing else the league needs to be able to explain why it’s not doing what its neighbors to the north are.

As has been the case for five months now, thisnis a developing story. We’ll be back with more info as we have it. Until then....

Go ‘Dawgs!!!!