Big 12 to follow ACC and SEC and attempt to play football this fall without Big Ten or Pac-12

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Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 8:49 PM CDT
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There could be major college football fall even without the Big Ten and Pac-12.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 decided to cancel all fall sports Tuesday in a vote of their school presidents, but for now it appears there could be Power Five games after all because the Big 12 presidents decided late Tuesday to continue to pursue playing the season, joining the ACC and SEC. The Big 12 was considered the “linchpin” on whether there would be a fall season because if the Big 12 decided not to play, it was all going to fall apart. The story was first reported by and then confirmed by a few national writers.

The Big 12 schedule could be announced as early later Tuesday or early Wednesday. Its conference teams were allowed one non-conference game, but only at home. ACC schools had planned one non-conference game as well, but it had to be in the state of the league school. The SEC isn't allowing any, but now that these three power conferences are aligned, things could change.

As of now, the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA (although not Old Dominion) and the Sun Belt also have decided to try and play. Independent BYU, with just three games currently on the schedule, hasn't made official plans either way yet but now has some options to fill out the schedule. Obviously, the coronavirus could still scuttle things.

In theory if there is a College Football Playoff, it could include the champions of the ACC, Big 12 and SEC and then the top Group of Five conference champion – which almost surely would be an AAC school like Central Florida, Cincinnati or Memphis. For what it's worth, the former Bowl Alliance/Bowl Coalition didn't include the Big Ten or Pac-12 (then Pac-10), either.

It will be absolutely fascinating if players from Big Ten and Pac-12 schools try and transfer immediately to the conferences that will be playing and if the NCAA would even let them be immediately eligible. A few Big Ten programs, Nebraska in particular, have made some noise about playing in the fall outside of the league.

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