4. Can the Big Ten and Pac-12 really play in the spring?
There are about a gajillion things that have to come together to make this happen. Here are five key parts that have to be figured out first.
1. Player eligibility. This might be easier than you think – everything just carries over. This is why everyone was making a big whoop over calling it a postponement of the Big Ten and Pac-12 seasons instead of a full-on cancelation. Think of it this way – it would be the 2020 fall season, just starting five months later.
2. The NFL. How many players per team do you really think end up in the NFL? The timing of spring football would be crushing for Ohio State, Oregon, and maybe USC and Penn State, but most of the other schools would be kept intact. The star prospects would simply opt-out, while others would try to use the timing to up their draft stock.
3. The optics. It’s a bit hard to sell the idea that you shut down a fall season over player health concerns and then have them play two seasons in ten months. However, the Big Ten and Pac-12 fans might be fine with it. Start in early February, go until early May, and then give everyone the summer off and start up the 2021 season a bit later.
4. What do you do with the fall 2021 season? The college presidents and commissioners, apparently, didn’t really get into the idea of spring football for the first time until Tuesday. For now, just assume the concept of playing in the spring was thrown out there to make the cancelation/postponement more palatable. The 2021 fall football season might as well be Mars at the moment to this group.
5. What’s REALLY going to be different? Two things: the national leadership, and testing. One way or another, things are going to be different after the presidential election. To be kind, call that an X factor.
A vaccine is the dream, but it’s not realistic to be any sort of a difference-maker for the spring. However, as the Pac-12 hinted at in its explanation, faster, more accurate testing would be the gamechanger. If you know everyone on the field is healthy, or close to it, it’s back to almost normal on the field.