Let's get this out of the way: 2020 has sucked and continues to suck a lot. The coronavirus pandemic took a lot of our spring and summer sports away — highlighted by March Madness — and it's on the verge of claiming college football as well.
Just five days after the Big Ten released its conference-only 10 game football schedule, there are plenty of reports and rumblings that the Big Ten is on the verge of canceling its fall football season with hopes of playing in the spring.
There is so much uncertainty around what'll happen this fall. If the Big Ten ops out and the Pac-12 follows suit as reported, would that force the ACC, Big 12 and SEC's hand?
That remains to be seen, but sources told Dan Patrick that the SEC is still trying to proceed forward with a season.
DP was told an hour ago that the Big 10 and Pac 12 will cancel their football seasons tomorrow... The ACC and the Big 12 are on the fence.. And the SEC is trying to get teams to join them for a season.— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) August 10, 2020
Watch live: https://t.co/sMaeXQkLfl pic.twitter.com/oSUNGMTEqw
There's a rising hope that if or when the Big Ten season gets canceled, Ohio State would join the SEC in some capacity. Fans, players and even coaches took to social media to suggest it as a possibility.
Im in!! Dial it up. https://t.co/8dySKqv5yY— Brian Hartline (@brianhartline) August 10, 2020
It's a fun and interesting thought, but there's not a chance that it actually happens. Here are just a few reasons why.
Things Don't Add Up
Dan Patrick reported that the Big Ten was 12-2 in favor of postponing the season, with only Iowa and Nebraska opting to play in the fall. If that's true, that means Ohio state was one of the 12 voting against a fall season.
If Ohio State has deemed it unsafe to play, then why would it then turn around and vote in favor of playing against SEC teams outside of the Buckeyes' footprint, especially when the new footprint is experiencing exposure at a much higher level than the midwest?
It just doesn't make sense.
Sean Callahan reported that the reported "vote" was not an official vote or a final decision, but just a gauge about teams' comfort levels with the current situation. But the point stands that if Ohio State is not comfortable playing in the Big Ten now, why would it entertain playing in another conference?
Logistics and Time
The SEC already has a new schedule that took time and planning to put together, and we're only about a month away from their season's scheduled start date. Reworking the entire schedule to add another team (or more) at this point would be a nightmare.
There simply isn't time to feasibly do it.
Think of the (B1G) Children
So hypothetically, the SEC extends a hand from football heaven and invites, let's say, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin to the league.
What about the other teams in the conference? How furious would the other programs and athletes be if they weren't offered the same opportunity. I can't speak to the legal action they could take, but I'm sure they'd have options.
Nebraska and Iowa were reportedly the two schools that voted to play this fall. Why wouldn't they get a shot?
The Big Ten and its members have contractual obligations with certain television networks, highlighted by Fox and ESPN/ABC.
Those contracts were in part responsible for the inception of the Big Noon Kickoff, a pregame show to compete with ESPN's College Gameday that premiered in 2019.
If the Big Ten season is canceled and Ohio State wanted to join the SEC, they'd still have to navigate its way out of these contracts, which seems highly unlikely.
What happens after this season?
If Ohio State – the conference's most high-profile, elite team – jumped ship and joined the SEC, that would surely damage the team's relationship with the rest of the conference, likely hindering it from returning following this season.
Sure, Ohio State could play in the SEC every season after this, but that wouldn't be realistic for a number of reasons, especially as the athletic department it tries to limit costs as it recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, travel costs would be drastically higher, especially for non-revenue sports.
Who says the SEC is even going to play?
All of the above works under the assumption that the SEC is actually going to play if some (or all) of the other Power Five conferences cancel, and that's far from a given.
It's easy to say that you're not canceling your season now, but the SEC is surely going to reconsider that stance if it finds itself as the only Power Five conference going ahead with its season.
This is all hypothetical, of course. College football in the fall at any level feels more like a dream with every passing day. The best we can hope for (in my eyes, obviously) is that college football collectively decides to postpone the season to the spring, with the college football playoff intact and the NFL draft moving to the summer.
But maybe that's a dream too.
Life sucks. Eat at Arby's.