Thursday afternoon, the Big Ten announced it would be moving to a conference-only schedule for the 2020 college football season. As such, three non-conference games for each team were cancelled. Many expect the Pac-12 and the ACC to follow suit soon.
If all of the Power 5 conferences wind up going this route, independent schools like Notre Dame and BYU will be forced into tricky situations. As of now, the Fighting Irish seem to be headed toward some kind of resolution with the ACC.
One Sports Illlustrated writer – Chris Dukes – has anther idea. He wonders if it might make sense for both Notre Dame and BYU to temporarily join the Big 12.
It could make some sense. If the Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12 and SEC all wind up scheduling between 10 and 12 in-conference games, the Big 12 will forced to have a shorter schedule since it only has 10 programs. If it adds two more, it could solve that problem. Here’s more:
The Big 12 should offer temporary membership to both Notre Dame and BYU. As independents, both programs are even more affected by a potential conference-only football season. They would offer two more quality opponents (and in the case of Notre Dame at least a couple of games of mammoth national interest) to each team’s schedule.
Notre Dame, given its relationship with the ACC, undoubtedly has more options than BYU. But the Cougars do also have a national fan base, so there would be a lot to be gained from bringing them into the fold.
There are other independent schools who are in more trouble – UConn, Army, Liberty, UMass etc. It’ll be interesting to see how they approach salvaging their seasons.
Notre Dame and BYU joining the Big 12 – even for a temporary period of time – seems like a long shot. But if it makes sense for both sides, you never know. Of course, this is all assuming we have a college football season.