UPDATE: The ACC is still mulling its options, while the Pac-12 is also making the move to a conference-only schedule.
There are reports the Big Ten Conference will announce a move to a conference-only schedule format for the 2020 season, per ESPN:
If college football can be played this fall, Big Ten presidents and athletic directors prefer playing a conference-only schedule, which would eliminate some long-distance travel and help ensure that their teams are being tested for coronavirus universally, multiple sources inside the league and around college football told ESPN.
Some Big Ten schools preferred playing only conference foes with one additional non-league game — which would preserve some of its marquee non-Big Ten matchups — but there is overwhelming support for a 10-game conference-only schedule, the sources said.
The obvious big losers here are smaller teams, mid-majors and FCS squads that rely on the money to support their athletic departments.
The Big Ten’s potential decision to play only conference opponents would affect 36 scheduled opponents, 28 from the FBS and eight from the FCS. Six FBS schools — Ball State, Bowling Green, BYU, Central Michigan, UConn and Northern Illinois — are scheduled to play two Big Ten opponents this season.
They are the first Power5 conference to make such a move, and it will also void two planned ACC games:
Canceled games as a result of the Big Ten's conference only schedule include:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 9, 2020
* Ohio State-Oregon
* Penn State-Virginia Tech
* Iowa-Iowa State
* Miami-Michigan State
* Wisconsin-Notre Dame
The conference is also likely to put division games first:
Also hearing per sources thst the B1G’s league-only schedules will be frontloaded with division games, as those are the most important to play before potential interruptions. https://t.co/yZzJmPJMUr— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) July 9, 2020
With the ACC and Florida State Seminoles likely to follow, we immediately had some thoughts:
ricobert1: This seems like the noble thing to do - if they significantly alter each member’s conference schedule. Because cancelling, for instance, PSU/VT to make sure PSU/Iowa gets played is at best tone-deaf; and, at worst, a feckless - even for Americans - understanding of geography. Regardless, going conference-only seems like a concession by each school’s AD instead of the B10 somehow canceling the entire schedule.
NoleThruandThru: Yay, optics! If we’re talking schedule changes, forget the in-conference option. How does it help ACC teams who would need to travel from Miami to Boston? I get it, money money money. But if we’re actually concerned with athlete safety and cutting down on travel, give me a true regional schedule this year comprised of teams from Florida and Georgia only. FSU gets to keep its rivalry games with UF and Miami while swapping Clemson out and adding UGA. Throw in Georgia Tech, UCF, FAU, FIU, and USF from the P5 conferences and sprinkle in Georgia State, Georgia Southern, FAMU, and maybe Bethune Cookman, and you have a truly regional football schedule. Add the Alabama schools if you need more variety. This makes too much sense though, so of course it won’t happen.
Jon Marchant: I think the small schools lose out, though obviously there are big time programs that will lose revenue from non-conference games. How will FCS squads balance their budget this year? Will they have to drop football for a year, like a de-facto death penalty? Also, “If college football can be played this fall” seems rather ominous. I don’t know, I just get the feeling football is already giving ground to the inevitable, but I hope I’m wrong. If the ACC also goes conference-only, and ricobert is right it should be regional and not conference, can we swap Clemson for Georgia Tech? Or FAMU? The people deserve some fun. Also, no trip to Boise you say?
FrankDNole: As I read this I could feel the veins in my forehead becoming engorged. I tried to stop reading, but I didn’t. Sure enough, I am now full bore outraged and therefore I’ve asked to be put back into isolation to avoid another “incident.”
What are your immediate thoughts?