Big Ten football expected to play only conference games this season

Chase Young, Ohio State Buckeyes, Wisconsin Badgers. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Chase Young, Ohio State Buckeyes, Wisconsin Badgers. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Big Ten football is expected to only play conference games this season.

Big Ten football may end up the setting the tone for college football this year.

According to Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, “The Big Ten is expected to announce today that it will go with a conference-only football schedule for this fall.” With the geographical footprint of this 14-team Power 5 conference stemming from Nebraska to Maryland, it’s not a huge shock the Big Ten would be the first Power 5 conference to implement conference-only scheduling.

This would mean the Big Ten would play its nine-game conference schedule, possibly adding up to three games in-conference to give us a typical 12-game regular-season slate. Though going to conference-only only impacts a quarter of Big Ten football team’s schedule, it is something we’d be foolish to overlook.

Going to conference only means the CyHawk won’t be played between the Big Ten West’s Iowa Hawkeyes and the Big 12’s Iowa State Cyclones. It would also mean exciting non-conference affairs like the Michigan Wolverines traveling to Seattle to play the Pac-12’s Washington Huskies won’t be happening any longer if Auerbach’s report is true. How does this shape the 2020 season?

Big Ten football going conference-only reshapes the 2020 season massively.

Let’s be real for a second. If there is going to be a college football season this fall, it was going to look different than any other season before it. While the Ivy League canceled fall sports across the board on Tuesday, good luck trying to tell the Big 12 and the SEC they can’t have football season. Those two Power 5 conferences will do everything in their power to have a season.

As for the two other Power 5 conferences in question, it’ll be interesting to see what the ACC and the Pac-12 do about playing this fall. The ACC shares a similar geographic footprint with the SEC, but the conference spans from Miami, Florida to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. They could go conference-only, but that would only be an eight-game season schedule. Expect added games.

With the Pac-12, the Power 5 conference may just punt on having a season all together. This conference features some of the most politically progressive states in the country, so it wouldn’t be shocking if California is out, the Pac-12 is out as well. Then again, the Pac-12 needs to stay relevant and not be usurped in some eyes by the best Group of 5 conference in the AAC.

Could other Power 5 and Group of 5 conferences follow the Big Ten’s suit? Potentially, but that leaves national independent programs like the Army Black Knights, the BYU Cougars and especially the Notre Dame Fighting Irish out to dry. Could programs like Army, BYU and Notre Dame temporarily join a conference just so they can have a 2020 college football season?

The Big Ten looking to go conference only may very well impact the other Power 5 schools.

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