The Big Ten and the Pac-12 postponed their fall college football seasons last week. The three other Power 5 conferences, the ACC, Big 12 and SEC, have yet to make a similar decision.
Right now, those three conferences are still pushing toward a fall season. The SEC will release its 2020 fall schedule this evening.
What are the odds of the ACC, Big 12 and SEC pulling the plug?
ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum doesn’t see it happening. The longtime college football analyst thinks the Big Ten’s PR “nightmare” is partly to thank for that.
“This may give adrenaline to the other three conferences to move forward without being as careful as they need to be,” Finebaum said. “I know that sounds like a major statement, but they feel it. If you’re the Big 12, the ACC or the SEC, you’re feeling that you’re doing something great right now by playing college football, which may not be great at all. But the odds of any of those three backing down before we get closer to September 26 right now, I think, is very small because of the Big Ten’s PR nightmare.”
The Big Ten has been criticized by its players, coaches and fans for postponing the season when they did. A petition started by Justin Fields has more than 200,000 signatures in 24 hours.
“This is a public relations nightmare for the Big Ten. And they did it to themselves,” Finebaum said, per 247Sports. “They announced the schedule and came right back and canceled. And the biggest problem the Big Ten has had is they didn’t explain their reasoning. Kevin Warren has done one interview, one major television interview, with the Big Ten Network and quite frankly, it was embarrassing.
“…They have no messaging and on top of that, guess what’s happening today in the SEC? The SEC is releasing its schedule. They’re doing it in prime time, on SEC Network television, they’re going to trumpet how they’re ready to play, how they have a plan. And meanwhile, everyone in the Big Ten is watching that and going, ‘What’s going on here?’”
The next few weeks will be critical for the conferences aiming to play. As students return to campus, the possibility of COVID-19 outbreaks grows.
For now, though, the ACC, Big 12 and SEC are planning to play.