The Spineless Big Ten Reverses Their Decision and Expects Praise
This is an opinion piece.
On Wednesday, the Big Ten Conference announced that they would be going forward with a shortened fall football season after months of back and forth arguing. The season will start on October 24 and will feature eight conference games in eight weeks.
Big Ten, you absolutely played yourself.
The Big Ten could have been leaders, but instead, they became the butt of a joke. During the summer, before the Southeastern Conference even announced anything, the Big Ten announced their schedule- a 12-week schedule that features two bye weeks, ten games and plenty of time for small setbacks, a now know necessity in the world of COVID-19.
Abruptly on Aug. 11, this same conference canceled all fall athletic events. The vote to end the season ended 11-3, with only football blueblood Ohio State, and conference newcomer Nebraska and Iowa voting to hold a season. Just days later, university officials from Penn State claimed that they never even knew of a vote.
This decision left every other “Power Five” conference scrambling. Sports pundits on every network praised the decision, but silently in the south, the SEC, ACC, and their fans knew it was too soon to make that grave of a decision.
When the SEC and ACC announced they would definitely be having a season, which would obviously be shortened and in the SEC’s case, conference only, once again most sportscasters in America criticized the two conferences. Luckily for the conferences deciding to play, the Big 12 made the choice to also play which meant that only the Big Ten and the Pac-12 conferences would be sitting out from “Power Five” play.
Ultimately, the Big Ten’s hubris became their downfall. The Coaches’ Top 25 Poll was released for the preseason, featuring six Big Ten teams. The next week, this poll was Big Ten-free due to the postponement of the season.
That must’ve hurt the conference’s ego bad.
Now, in the middle of September, the college football world is totally different. Games have been played since Sept. 3, and while some colleges have had to cancel a game or two, it all seems to be going well. That’s the thing though. Even though a school might have several players catch coronavirus and have to cancel a game, this isn’t world ending because there is time to make up a game.
According to Brett McMurphy, only around ten games are having to be rescheduled.
This means that when a Big Ten school ends up with an important, moneymaking game like Ohio State-Michigan being canceled due to COVID-19 cases, the conference will be up the creek without a paddle because of the extremely shortened eight-week schedule.
In addition to a schedule that allows for zero reschedulings, which has already been proven to be a necessity, the Big Ten is forcing players to quarantine for 21 days after a positive test, a week shy of half of the season. Though the conference states that they will be testing their athletes every day, it will be inevitable before a big school like Wisconsin or Michigan loses a star player to coronavirus. This will only lead to the same whining and complaining that the college football world sees when the entitled Big Ten feels like they were "robbed' of a College Football Playoff spot.
Ultimately, the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 don't care. The Big Ten can play or not play, and it won't affect the rest of college football at all. The Big Ten's time as the "leader' of the college football world is over, and the world will keep spinning without them.
The Big Ten’s abridged season will begin on Oct. 24, nearly a month after the SEC and ACC start theirs. The Big Ten Championship Game will be held on Dec. 19. All Big Ten matchups will be held without fans, but Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren has not ruled out the family of athletes just yet. As of Sept. 16, the Pac-12 Conference will not be holding a season.