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Report: Big Ten, Pac-12 Leaning Toward Conference-Only Football Season

Could something similar happen with the Big 12?

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The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the 2020 college football season became a little more clear Thursday.

Reports are beginning to surface that the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences are leaning toward a conference-only season for fall semester sports, including football. ESPN’s Heather Dinich and Mark Schlabauch reported Thursday that the conference-only schedule is the “most likely outcome” for the Big Ten, and not too long after SirusXM’s Sean O’Connell tweeted out that the Pac-12 will announce conference-only games shortly after the Big Ten does.

Update: The Big Ten made this official on Thursday afternoon.

The idea of conference-only football has also been brought up in the ACC, where commissioner John Swofford has been quoted in saying that independent Notre Dame would likely be allowed in the ACC’s mix.

For what it’s worth, Sports Illustrated reporter Ross Dellenger reports SEC coaches held their weekly conference call Thursday morning where there were no changes in play or practice plans.

Nothing has been said about the Big 12, but it is the conference that seems most ready for a conference-only schedule, given everyone in the conference already plays everyone else. In a conference-only format, Oklahoma State would lose games with Oregon State, Tulsa and Western Illinois, and it appears likely will lose the Oregon State game regardless, if the Pac-12 does officially announce a conference-only schedule.

The only Big 12 gamess affected by the Big Ten’s announcement are Iowa State-Iowa and Maryland-West Virginia.

Interestingly, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby seems to be pushing the conference forward as planned. If this happens, it will be interesting to see how the league fills those empty slots it has from nonconference games with teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten.

The Cowboys’ first Big 12 game is scheduled against TCU on Oct. 3.

This news comes with news of soaring cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and Big 12 country hasn’t escaped that. According to the Oklahoma State Health Department, there has been a 603-case increase in the past 24 hours bringing the total all-time to over 18,000 with over 400 deaths. On Wednesday, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported a 9,979-case increase.

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