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Edinboro University & Northwestern Pennsylvania High School Journalism Competition: First Place (Daniel Anthony, Opinion Category); Fifth Place (Brendan Jubulis, Sports)

Edinboro University & Northwestern Pennsylvania High School Journalism Competition: Third Place (Website)
Student Keystone Press Awards Honorable Mention (Website)

Edinboro University & Northwestern Pennsylvania High School Journalism Competition: Third Place (Website)

College football conferences not unified in response to COVID-19


COVID-19 is affecting everything college football is about. Some of the top-tier college football players have opted to not even play this year due to COVID-19. This virus has affected the athletes, the coaches, the universities, and the fans. The fans will not be in attendance this year for most universities, but a couple of teams have made some adjustments to allow a certain percentage of fans into the stadiums. This year fans will mainly see each conference playing only in-conference games. The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, and the SEC will be playing in-conference schedules. The PAC 12, which postponed all fall sports, will now re-vote on the possibility of a fall season following the Big Ten’s decision last week to return to play in October. College football is one of the most exciting sports in the nation. How much will the sports’ atmosphere be impacted?

The ACC never decided to postpone their college football season. Instead the conference waited and finally made a decision to go ahead with football for 2020. The ACC announced the schedule on Aug 6 with each team playing an 11-game schedule, consisting of 10 conference games and one non-conference game. The ACC games started on Sep. 10. The ACC Championship Game will be played Dec. 12 or 19 in Charlotte, North Carolina at Bank of America Stadium. A big surprise to everyone was Notre Dame being added into the conference for the 2020 season. Notre Dame has always been an independent team for college football. Notre Dame was almost forced to join the conference this year just to be able to play any games and be eligible for the College Football Playoff.  

Top ACC Player Opt-Outs

Jamarcus Chatman (Florida State)
Gregory Rousseau (Miami)
Jaylen Twymen (Pittsburgh)
Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech) 

Big 12
The Big 12 went along with the ACC and will also start the season in September. The league announced a 10-game schedule for its teams with 9 conference games and one non-conference game. The one non-conference game was played on September 12, and the conference games start on Sept. 26. The Big 12 Championship Game is scheduled for Dec. 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The championship game has a possibility of being moved back a week to Dec. 19.

Top Big 12 Player Opt-Outs
Jonathan Alexander (Kansas State)
Jalen Redmond (Oklahoma)
Kennedy Brooks (Oklahoma)

The SEC was one of the last conferences along with the ACC and Big 12 to stand still and wait to continue the season. The SEC is playing a 10-game conference schedule this year. The schedule was announced by the league on Aug. 17, and the season starts on Sept. 26. The SEC Championship Game is scheduled for December 19 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

Top SEC Player Opt-Outs
Ja’Marr Chase (LSU)
Tyler Shelvin (LSU)
Jamie Newman (Georgia)
Shamar Nash (Arkansas)
Jhamon Ausbon (Texas A&M)

PAC 12
The PAC 12 was one of the first conferences to postpone its fall season. Since the Big Ten’s decision to return to play, the PAC 12 is considering to have a season in the fall along with all the other major conferences with a vote scheduled for next week. The PAC 12 has had a lot of COVID-19 cases in California where some of the PAC 12 teams are located. The PAC 12 should be making a decision about the college football season next week.

Big Ten
Things gets a little complicated here. First, on Aug. 5 the Big Ten Conference announced their 10-game conference only schedule. Then, on Aug. 11, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren announced the postponement of the Big Ten’s college football season along with all fall sports.

Through this whole time period, the players, coaches, parents, athletic directors, and fans of the Big Ten were left devastated with no football this fall. Coaches were irate with no answers to why the season was being postponed. Parents even went to the Big Ten Headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana, to protest why their kids should be playing this fall. Social media was buzzing with Big Ten players saying, ‘We want to play’.

Ohio State’s star quarterback, Justin Fields was one of the players to be the most vocal on social media about the Big Ten’s announcement. Fields even made a petition to have players, parents, coaches, and fans to sign. This was to try and get the Big Ten to switch the decision. On Sept. 16, the Big Ten had a unanimous decision to bring the Big Ten football season back. The Big Ten season is a 9-game conference only schedule in 9 weeks with the season to begin on the Oct. 23-24 weekend.

One of the biggest games in all of college football is the next week when the Buckeyes of Ohio State travel to Happy Valley to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Big Ten Championship Game is scheduled for Dec. 19 n Indianapolis, Indiana, at Lucas Oil Stadium. The championship game will take place the day before the College Football Playoff committee picks their top-4 teams on Dec. 20. Big Ten players have opted out and some have opted back into the season. Those names include Rashod Bateman from Minnesota and Ohio State’s Shaun Wade and Wyatt David.

Top Big Ten Player Opt-Outs
Micah Parsons (Penn State)
Rondale Moore (Purdue)
Josh Jackson (Maryland)
Everett Wormley (Rutgers)
Ra’Von Bonner (Illinois)

This year college football will be a lot different without fans and only conference games. College football is known for the fans and the crazy college atmospheres, but there still is football happening this fall. The players will have to feed off of their own energy and momentum. Anything can happen this year with pretty much no home field advantage for the home teams. Fans or no fans, most people just want to watch football, and college football is back.

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