Well what a difference a week makes. A week ago I was under the impression that all of the 5 major NCAA football conferences would be playing football. Now at least two of the five will not. Both are looking at trying to play in the spring but even that is up in the air at this point. Spring 2021 officially starts March 20th so I suspect they mean to start during the Spring semester, sometime in January. Even with a ten game season and a conference championship this takes the season to somewhere around March 20th or maybe March 27th.
So the initial issue I see here is what does this do to the NCAA Championship? If none of the other three top conferences drop out of fall football will they continue on with the championship series without the Big 10 and the PAC12? I don’t think that the loss of the PAC12 is likely to influence the series as much as the Big 10 but if one of the other three, the ACC, the Big 12 or the SEC drop fall football I can’t see the championship series going on which will be massively costly to the NCAA. The 5 game that made up the series last season made more money than every other single bowl game combined for the season. Its a huge money maker for the conferences, the schools and the NCAA. And make no mistake, NCAA football has become every bit a business like any pro sport...sadly...
Now on to the biggest implication from an NFL/Miami Dolphins perspective. Assuming that it’s only those two conferences that do not play until spring you can expect to see a huge number of their top seniors opting out of the spring games. Many of the top players have already signaled that if their conference or their team opts out of fall football they will opt out of playing in any scenario that includes spring games with an eye on the NFL. They will be busy by that time trying to prepare for the NFL combine and the NFL draft and it’s hard to blame them. The Combine of course happens during February when they would be in the middle of a season if they don’t opt out and the draft would come a month after they stopped playing with no time to get ready for even individual workouts.
This also hurts teams like the Dolphins in another way, who go into 2021 as they did into 2020 with additional draft stock. It makes it much harder to evaluate a top player when you have zero senior year tape on them to look at and have to rely on combine and individual workouts to judge a players ability. I for one find both of these overrated if you have no game tape of them in the year where they should be playing their best college ball.
So my Phinsider Question Of The Day is do you see this hurting the NFL and the entire draft process or could you see the NFL possibly trying to move both the combine and the draft to later in the year to accommodate these two conferences? I would almost suspect that they would be forced to consider it if anyone else drops out of fall football.