Changes are Coming to College Football….
By: Mark Sturgis
In what has been a steady news dump for the past week, there’s only one thing I know about College Football for the 2020 season, and that is the simple fact that changes are coming. The Ivy League first announced the conference would have no fall sports schedule. Many are claiming this is such a smart move in today’s pandemic era, and you can believe that line if you want to, but the Ivy League just figured out a way to cut football, a sport that costs every single one of their members money to play and that was the ultimate end game.
The bigger announcement was Thursday by the BIG 10 announcing they will play a “conference football only” schedule this fall. One thing that helps the BIG 10 in this announcement is the league already plays a nine-game conference schedule and nearly everyone of the BIG 10’s premiere “Rivalry Games” is already a conference matchup.
In today’s age, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I would be willing to bet the PAC 12, Big 12, and ACC will likely follow BIG 10 Commissioner Jim Delaney’s lead. Let’s also be honest, the SEC will likely only agree to such a deal if they are then publicly shamed, and only then will go to the podium kicking, screaming and cussing.
First, I must admit that I’m not qualified to comment on how things should be run during this time, and the same applies to most of you. I don’t know who to believe much less what I should or should not comment on. But that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to have my own opinion. If “Conference Only Football” is applied to the 2020 season, let me be one of the first to say, that’s better than no College Football at all.
However, I find it extremely ironic that Clemson will have to make a long journey to Boston College and potentially Notre Dame (more on that in a minute). South Carolina has a yearly trek across the country to play a SEC matchup at Texas A&M or Missouri. Yet these two longtime rivals might see their series interrupted while only 120 miles apart. That makes a lot of sense there!!!
If we see “Conference Only Football” in 2020, then this is the time for John Swofford as ACC Commissioner to leave his lasting legacy before retirement and force the hand of Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish need to be “All In” the ACC or not in at all. Do not work with Notre Dame on scheduling this fall, those are “Out of Conference” games.
What does Notre Dame offer the ACC that special considerations should be made? The national championship from 1989 was thirty-one years ago. The two times since the Irish have played their way in to national contention the Golden Domers were Alabama absolutely hammered in a BCS Title Game in South Florida and then beat down 30-3 by Clemson just a couple of years ago in a semifinal in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl. While the Irish most definitely have a long, illustrious history on the gridiron; the term “has been” comes to mind as well.
I was told that Notre Dame would jump to the Big 12 for football schedule only arrangement, and then agree to join to join the Big East in all other sports. That’s fine by me, if those two leagues want to sign college athletics equivalent “of a deal with the devil”, so be it. And do not think I don’t see the irony in that statement of mine.
There are no answers yet, and just remember this, anyone that claims to be in the know just proved they aren’t qualified to know the difference between truth and rumor. There are many decisions to be made, but I want College Football this fall. I’ll even admit, I need College Football. That may be selfish, and I have certainly been called worse things in my life. I just need some routine, some normalcy, something I’m passionate about. The longer this has gone on I’ve only found more things to hate. That and reasons Notre Dame needs the ACC