College Football Close To All Conferences Resuming Play

Oregon and Ohio State are some of the most prominent teams returning to the gridiron soon.

Edited by Jake Williams

Oregon and Ohio State are some of the most prominent teams returning to the gridiron soon.

Jake Williams, Journalist

A little over a month again, the 2020 college football season officially started. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, all of the conferences around the country did not start at the same time, as they all created unique and separate plans on a return to play. Soon, that will all be changing, as all conferences are gearing up to play on the same weeks together. The conferences that didn’t start on time such as the Big 10, Mountain West, and PAC 12 will be joining the ones who did, such as the ACC, SEC, and Big 12. So what exactly does that mean for the college football world?

The elephant in the room is the inclusion of the number five ranked Ohio State into the playoff mix. Led by quarterback and top NFL Draft prospect Justin Fields, Ohio State is expected to make some noise in the games they play in, and are widely considered to be a frontrunner to get in the College Football Playoff this year. They are also helped by an elite defense and great coaching, as well as limited capacity home games. But the arrival of the Big Ten does not just mean the arrival of Ohio State. Number 8 ranked team in the country Penn State, number 14 ranked Wisconsin, number 18 ranked Michigan, and number 21 ranked Minnesota, and a plethora of other decent teams such as Purdue and Nebraska are returning to the gridiron as well on October 24th.

On the same date, a smaller, but still noteworthy conference known as the Mountain West will return. Boise State is the crown jewel of the conference, and is the most likely to be ranked the highest, but other teams in the conference such as San Diego State, Wyoming, Nevada, and Hawaii have proven occasionally they can hang with the best of them and make for an entertaining game to watch. The Mountain West features some of the most underrated teams in the country and is often overlooked when it really should not.

The other major western conference returning soon is the PAC 12. With that information, it means Oregon is welcomed back into the playoff conversation. Oregon is regarded as the conference’s best chance at a playoff spot and is the favorite to win the conference title again this year. Despite losing the now NFL quarterback Justin Herbert in the draft this year and having several players opt out on defense and the offensive line because of the pandemic, the Ducks still have a very formidable team and should not be taken lightly. Joining them in the mix includes the local team, as well as number 24 ranked nationally USC, Utah, Washington, Stanford, Arizona State, the other local team UCLA, and a few others on November 7th, if all goes according to plan.


The Big Ten (left), PAC 12 (middle), and Mountain West (right) are the three major conferences set to play in the coming weeks. (Edited by Jake Williams)

However, not all has gone without controversy. Some fans are of the belief that the conferences who started late should not be allowed to make playoffs due to the fewer games they’ve played as opposed to the conferences who started earlier. Regardless, playoff executive director Bill Hancock assures skeptics, “The committee’s job is to select the four best teams based on the schedules as established by each conference. This is why we have this committee of 13 experts.” Hancock elaborated, “Clearly there will be challenges this year. We will see what those challenges are and work through them. But the committee’s fundamental mission has not changed. Whatever the season looks like, the committee will select the four best teams based on the protocol.”

Not all fans are against the consideration of teams in late starting conferences though, such as Terry Alan. When asked if those in later starting conferences should be considered for playoffs, Alan states, “One hundred percent. The conferences who started later should be considered for playoffs, but if two teams are too close to separate, I would favor the conferences who played more games.”

Despite the many hurdles this year has thrown at the realm of college football, the season has persisted and it should be an interesting road to the college football playoff. Even those who do not make the playoff still are granted with the opportunity to play in post regular season bowl games, though the details on how that will be managed are still up in the air at this point. The Big Ten and Mountain West conferences gear up to play again on Saturday, October 24th, and the PAC 12 conference will join them on Saturday, November 7th.