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Administrators give Big 10, Pacific 12 football go-ahead

By Bob Madison - For the Chronicle | Oct 2, 2020

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren helped form the return-to-play task force. AP photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Slowly, ever so slowly, the powers-that-be have seen the football light.

At first, the Southeastern Conference, ACC and Big 12 held out against the thought that college football couldn’t be played during the fall and early winter of 2020.

The presidents of the Big 10 schools voted 11-3 to not play football this fall. Quickly agreeing to such a judgment, was the Pacific 12 Conference way out West in Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

Athletic directors steamed and stewed, but couldn’t change any administrative minds. Would only Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Auburn, Notre Dame and Florida have any realistic chance to win the national championship?

Would stadiums with over 100,000 seats remain empty? Would athletic coffers be drained of their money? Would prospective tailgaters be robbed of their chances to display candelabras, show off cooking skills and tinkle fancy glasses full of alcoholic beverages?

No Ohio State. No Penn State. No Wisconsin. No Oregon. No Michigan.

The country’s fall season would have only red and orange foliage, only scented smoke rolling out of fireplaces and into hillside chimneys and Saturdays reduced to television viewing of Sun Belt, AAC and a scattered few independent teams taking their turns on football fields.

Behind the scenes arms were being twisted, cash-heavy donors were threatening all-out rebellions and students were loudly asking questions of the various college presidents.

And lo and behold, we have another vote taken in both the Big 10 and the Pacific 12. And don’t you just know it, football will be back.

The Big 10 will begin playing games on Oct. 27. Ohio State will have some money for its 36 athletic teams. The Pacific 12 quickly announced it will be offering football after all.

The run up to a national championship game has been salvaged. The 40 bowls might be able to find enough teams to save all of them.

The Pride of the Southland band, the Marching Chiefs, the Million Dollar Band and Purdue’s “largest drum in the world” will be on display.

Cornhole games can return. Frisbees can be sailed again. Potato salad, pasta salad, jalapeno dip, deli breads, spicy shrimp and sloppy joe sandwiches will be carted out and enjoyed like never before.

There is no longer a vast wasteland for college football junkies. The cavernous stadiums in some places will no longer creak in a stiff wind or be used by migrating birds as rest stops.

Power 5 football is coming back. Soon, all will be right in the land of artificial turf, halftimes filled with brass instruments and alumni talking about their just-acquired corner offices and backyard, above-ground swimming pools.