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Will the Big 12 be able to Pull Off a Non-Conference Schedule?

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As COVID-19 cases continue to climb here in Texas and throughout the south, college footballs fans are on pins and needles hoping football will be played this fall. On Thursday afternoon, the Big Ten announced that it will play a conference-only schedule and get rid of their non-conference games. That will take away the Cy-Hawk game for Iowa State and it will also wipe out the Maryland/West Virginia match up on September 19th

But this may not be all folks. Even though Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby has no plans of cancelling non-conference games, his hand may be dealt for him soon. 

So, with the ACC planning on doing the same, the Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach is also reporting that the Pac-12 will likely be the next Power Five conference to follow the Big Ten. That leaves just the SEC and Big 12 left but there may be some more bad news coming sooner rather than later. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey made a statement saying “The Southeastern Conference will continue to meet regularly with our campus leaders in the coming weeks, guided by medical advisors, to make the important decisions necessary to determine the best path forward related to the SEC fall sports,” Sankey said. “We recognize the challenges ahead and know the well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans must remain at the forefront of those decisions.”

 

But there have been multiple reports that the SEC may be pushing these meetings to happen as soon as next week where a final decision could be made. Now whether they decide to keep the non-conference games or not remains to be seen, but if they do decide to follow the other conferences, the Big 12 will be the lone Power Five conference left at the table. That means you can forget about any Power Five match ups for the non-conference slate and maybe schools try and stay local or in-state, at the very least. However, there still could be some issues. Are some of these Group of Five schools up to date with the COVID-19 testing? How are they preparing for all of this and will the conference allow these schools to play who they want, or will there be certain guidelines to follow?

There are still many questions left and perhaps the biggest question for me is West Virginia. Even if the Big 12 pulls the plug on non-conference games, will schools be OK with West Virginia coming to town or your school traveling all the way to Morgantown? I understand we all want football back, but safety remains the number one priority here and I hope people understand that. Heck, I want football back as much as the next person, but I also want these players, coaches, and their families to stay safe. Remember, their health is at stake.

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