Dan Wetzel and SI's Pat Forde react to the Big 10's decision to move to a conference only slate and how they plan to make changes to the schedule. Does this give us some hope for football in the fall?
DAN WETZEL: This gives flexibility. That's the term I kept hearing, flexibility. And you can now say, we're to play nine games. We have three months to do it. We control everything.
If all of sudden, Minnesota's got an outbreak, and they can't play for two weeks, we can shuffle the deck later in the fall and make sure they get their games in. You know, we're not stuck, and one of the problems with college football, as we've noted, besides the 130 teams, and the 43 states, and all the different things, no one's in charge.
PAT FORDE: Right.
DAN WETZEL: There's no Adam Silver. There's no Roger Goodell who's like, I'm going to make this happen. It's total chaos, so this comes as close as you can get to the NFL. You have Kevin Warren is in charge.
He's in charge of these 14 teams, and his charge is to make sure these 14 teams play as many games as possible. And he doesn't have to worry about anybody else now. He doesn't have to worry what they're testing, what they're doing, anything. And that, I think, will greatly aid the chances of this happening, because the schedules now have some flexibility. Because there will be a cancellation somewhere, a postponement, or whatever.
PAT FORDE: Being able to control this is big, because I talked to a couple of power five ADs this week, who said, you know, the thing we hate about a non-conference game is we-- everybody in our league is going to try to test the same way and have the same protocols. And on Thursday at this time, and you've got to declare, we're in or we're out. You're playing somebody from out of conference.
You don't know how they've tested. You don't know how good their testing is, how diligent they've been. And you also have some people with the temptation to, oh, yeah, we might be a little sick, but we need that million dollar check. We better go take that game.
So you take all those things out of the equation. You're still hopefully having a conference champion. You know, the Big Ten will have a champion. We don't know if there's going to be a playoff or anything like that, but Big Ten football is good football. The fans will care. Hopefully, some get to come and see it in person. But as you said, at least, maybe, hopefully, they do play.
DAN WETZEL: At this point, I think it gives them a couple of weeks to say, we don't have to just schedule the whole year. I wouldn't be surprised if they were only announcing a schedule two weeks out.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, right?
DAN WETZEL: Especially if there's no fans, like who cares?
PAT FORDE: Yeah, exactly. The only people that need know is the travel party for whoever's got to go on the road.
DAN WETZEL: Right, so you say, two weeks out. And it might only be 20,000 fans at most at Ohio State or Michigan State. We're not going to know what the schedule is. I wouldn't count on Ohio State, Michigan at the end of the year. They may sit there and say, these two look like they-- I don't know what they're going to do.
But that's what they're going to sit down now and figure out, instead of treading water on this decision of, we're probably not going to, probably not going to. Maybe it'll get better. It's not like we're just all sudden going to have this drop of-- the curve is not getting flattened in the next two weeks and then have to make the decision.
PAT FORDE: Right.
DAN WETZEL: So here's our decision. I hope that by biting the bullet early, it helps us get a Big Ten football season, which I'll take right now.
PAT FORDE: Sure. Oh yeah, we'll take it. No doubt about it. Yeah, I talked to Kevin Warren myself. And he said that they're going to spend like the next week just kind of really trying to drill down on the schedule. One of the things that some people in the league did bring up to me is the possibility of trying to get divisional games up front as opposed to necessarily backloaded.
So yeah, are we ready for Ohio State, Michigan in September or October? Maybe. I mean, who knows? This is going to be the one year all tradition, all protocols, totally thrown out. And you're just going to take what you can get, when you can get it, and where you can get it. And it may be fun, if we can actually pull it off. I just I hope we can get to the point of pulling it off.