Sports

Hotline: With the Big Ten restarting, the Pac-12 stands alone. Whatever it takes, the conference must play this fall


It’s official: The Big Ten is back, as of Oct. 23.

Pac-12, what say you?

The next few weeks are critical — no, they’re beyond critical: they’re everything.

The conference cannot force-feed the narrative that it cares less about football than its Power Five peers.

It cannot let the jokes about there being a ‘Power Four’ become reality.

It cannot get left behind.

Pac-12 football must return this fall.

There is no choice.

Forget a winter season. Playing in January would be difficult to pull off with a partner.

But all alone — with the other conferences having completed their seasons, with a national champion having been crowned — it makes zero sense.

Actually, it would make bad sense.

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Imagine the Pac-12 taking the field for six or seven weekends in early 2021 as the only conference competing.

Imagine all those weeks of reminding the college football world that it didn’t play with everyone else, that it’s not like the others … that it’s as much Group of Five as it is Power Five.

If the fall doesn’t work, the Pac-12 should shut it down until next fall.

Far better to be out of sight and mind than to provide weekly reminders to players, fans, donors, talking heads and recruits that it’s different — different in a bad way.

There are also practical obstacles to a winter season, like fielding a competitive roster after all the draft prospects have opted out.

Remember, the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee is not recommending that transfers and mid-year enrollees be granted immediate eligibility, so numbers would be limited.

Remember, too, that fans probably won’t be allowed to attend in any meaningful way (prior to a widely-available vaccine) and that the conference’s TV partners likely would pay dimes or nickels on the dollars for limited inventory on a stand-alone basis.

And finally, remember that players and coaches want something to play for.

Yes, two teams could play for the conference title in early March. But there would be no place for the champion to go, no place for the runner-up and no place for any of the other 10.

What would be the point?

A winter season only works if the Big Ten is marching alongside, creating strength in numbers and providing an opponent for the Rose Bowl (and perhaps other bowl games).

Alone, the winter does not work.

It’s the fall or nothing for the Pac-12.

A working group that …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

      

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