College Football 2020 Live Stream: As the nation continues its battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, college conferences across the country are in the process of deciding how they will approach the fall sports season — if they play games at all. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have taken the most drastic measures of any of the 10 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conferences so far by limiting their teams to league play this fall.
Announcements are expected this month from the other three Power Five leagues on whether they will follow suit or perhaps come up with a different scheduling philosophy. At lower divisions, some leagues have canceled all fall competition while others are planning to proceed as scheduled, at least for now.
The SEC and ACC have four intra-state rivalries (Georgia-Georgia Tech, South Carolina-Clemson, Florida-Florida State and Kentucky-Louisville), and preserving those games will certainly be a factor in the decision-making process for those two conferences. CBS Sports senior writer Dennis Dodd confirmed a report from Stadium’s Brett McMurphy that Notre Dame will play 10 ACC games, and that the conference prefers a “plus one” model with 10 conference games and one out-of-conference game.
Here’s the breakdown of what we know about the measures being taken at each division of the sport as the scheduled kickoff of the 2020 college football season approaches.
Big Ten: The Big Ten announced in July that it will adopt a conference-only scheduling model for 2020 — if the season is played at all. It was the first Power Five conference to announce a major scheduling alteration and noted that moving to a league-only slate provides “the greatest flexibility to adjust … operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.” It is unknown if the Big Ten will stick with nine conference games or include an additional intraleague contest, and the schedule will be announced at a later date.
Pac-12: A couple days after the Big Ten’s announcement, the Pac-12 followed suit and moved to a conference-only schedule for 2020. The league also delayed starting mandatory athletic activities until the coronavirus pandemic began trending significantly in a negative direction. The Pac-12 plans to announce its adjusted schedule no later than July 31. CBS Sports has confirmed it is likely to be a 10-game slate with a conference title game that could be moved to any of the first three weekends of December.
SEC: The SEC had no comment on its future plans when reached by CBS Sports. Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk first noted that a potential conference-only schedule could be decided upon by late July, a timeframe that did not accelerate following announcements by the BIg Ten and Pac-12. The SEC’s athletic directors met with commissioner Greg Sankey in mid-July. No major decisions were made, though options for the season were discussed.
ACC: The ACC is considering a conference-game only schedule, according to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd. Should the ACC eventually go to that model, it is expected that the conference would work independent Notre Dame into the scheduling format due to its existing football affiliation. However, the ACC announced that it will not come to any formal, official decision until late July, and the league is also reportedly considering a format that would include one nonconference game.
“We’ve modeled [conference-only] in concept,” an ACC source told Dodd. “Now it’s getting to the next level of, ‘OK, how would it look on paper?’ The Big Ten made their decision a little earlier. … Just because the Big Ten crowed doesn’t mean it caused the sunshine. There’s a lot of variables out there, but if you don’t have one, if it’s not in your hip pocket, you’ll find out real quick it doesn’t take just one day to pull one of these together.”
Big 12: The Big 12 has not made an announcement about its plans and appears to be taking the same wait-and-see approach as the SEC and ACC. It is believed that — due in part to nonconference games between the leagues — the three conferences will come to a decision together about scheduling. League commissioner Bob Bowlsby told Dodd “it’s a little early” to make a decision about playing a conference-only schedule, though the league has a model ready to go should it head in that direction at some point.
Independents: Notre Dame is scheduled to play six ACC teams this season, and it’s expected that the ACC will incorporate the Fighting Irish into its scheduling plan once it’s finalized. BYU lost five games from its schedule when the Pac-12 and Big Ten announced they were moving to conference-only slates. BYU associate athletic director Duff Tittle told the Salt Lake Tribune that “BYU is actively working on a variety of scheduling alternatives since the announcements by the Big Ten and Pac-12 to play conference-only games.” The other FBS independents are Army, Liberty, New Mexico State, UConn and UMass. Every FBS independent school has had at least one game wiped out by scheduling changes made by other leagues.
AAC: Nearly every AAC team has had a nonconference game wiped out by scheduling restrictions imposed by other leagues, but the AAC has announced no scheduling changes of its own yet. In fact, league commissioner Mike Aresco told The Athletic he’d like for the league’s teams to play 12 games. If that’s not practical, however, the conference would still like to play at least a couple nonconference games, Aresco said. Aresco also told Yahoo’s Pete Thamel that the AAC will be closely monitoring what the Power Five leagues decide. “We don’t have any illusions, they drive the train here,” Aresco told Thamel.
MAC: The league’s 12 teams were hit hard when the Big Ten announced it is only playing conference games. MAC teams had a total of 11 games scheduled against Big Ten teams. But the MAC itself has not announced any changes to scheduling protocols.
Mountain West: The conference has not announced any scheduling changes yet, but its teams have lost several nonconference games due to the scheduling restrictions of other conferences. Hawaii lost four of its five originally scheduled nonconference games (three against Pac-12 schools and one against Fordham of the Patriot League).
Sun Belt: Teams from the Sun Belt have lost only a handful of nonconference games so far due to scheduling changes imposed by other leagues. The conference has not announced any changes to its schedule
Conference USA: Thus far, C-USA has also lost only a few games due to scheduling changes made by other leagues. It has announced no schedule changes of its own.
The Football Championship Subdivision is comprised of 13 conferences and two independent programs. So far, five FCS leagues have announced they will not play sports — football included — this fall. Those conferences are the Ivy League, MEAC, Patriot League, CAA and the SWAC. The SWAC became the latest league to join the trend when it announced on July 20 that it plans to play a seven-game, conference-only schedule in the spring semester. The SWAC’s decision not to play sports this fall erased 11 non-conference games from the schedules of Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
By contrast, officials from the Southland Conference and Big South have recently indicated they plan to proceed with fall sports.
Division II and III
Three Division II conferences have suspended sports for the rest of 2020: the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. In Division III, the Centennial Conference, Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, Middle Atlantic Conference and Ohio Athletic Conference have canceled all fall sports competition. The Presidents’ Athletic Conference have announced they will only play conference games