The return of the Big Ten: What does it mean for college football?


Following a meeting of all NCAA conference presidents, Kevin Warren, the commissioner of the Big Ten (the midwestern based conference), made an unprecedented announcement on Aug. 11: the conference would be shutting down all fall sports, including the highly anticipated football season. 

This announcement made the Big Ten the first major conference to make that influential decision. Other major conferences that were soon to follow suit were the: SEC, Big 12, Pac-12, and the ACC.

Then, on Sept. 16, after a great deal of outspoken criticism from the media, players such as Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and even the president of the United States, the Big Ten unanimously voted to reverse its decision to cancel the season.

The new plan that resulted from the remarkable reversal includes an eight game season, beginning on the weekend of Oct. 24. It also permits a conference championship on Dec. 19, which many fans were desperate for. Most importantly though, all team personnel and players will undergo daily coronavirus testing.

With the return of the Big Ten, national championship contender Ohio State, as well as playoff hopefuls like Wisconsin and Michigan, will look to close the competition against teams like Clemson and Alabama, both of which are early title favorites. 

Although the Big Ten is considered a top CFB (college football) conference, it only contains one team with a legitimate shot at a National Championship, Ohio State, which was the only Big Ten team to claim a spot in the four-team playoff bracket last season. However, fans of the conference are also watching out for teams such as: Iowa, Minnesota, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Michigan, all of which finished as a top 25 ranked team last year.

Although the season had been cancelled, teams in the Big Ten were still practicing and training rigorously throughout the summer, so there is no doubt that this season will feature quality play.

Unquestionably, this momentous news has sparked excitement within the CFB community and its numerous Annandale fans as they anticipate their respective teams to find success this season.

“Clemson is my pick for the National Championship because they are the most complete team in College Football overall,” sophomore Evan Newton said.

Clemson is currently rebounding from a tough loss in the previous National Championship game against the almighty LSU, led by Joe Burrow, who currently plays in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals. 

But, with LSU’s loss of Burrow, Clemson is once again looking to capitalize on a championship run this year before they lose superstar quarterback Trevor Lawrence, as he has announced he will enter the 2021 NFL draft.

However, with a diverse fan base, there are many other college teams that have drawn attention for different reasons.

“My prediction for the Big 10 conference champion is Penn State because they’re coming off of a phenomenal season, I’m also very excited to watch them play with my dad because they are our favorite team,” sophomore Andrew Nields said.

Although Penn State suffered two grueling defeats against Minnesota and Ohio State last year, expertise will hopefully help to improve the team’s record this year, with quarterback Sean Clifford having another year of experience under center.

Another popular prediction for the title this upcoming season is Oklahoma. Last season, Oklahoma lost in a blowout to LSU (28-63) in the CFB playoff semi-final to end their season, but hopefully resilience will give them necessary confidence to find success in the future.

“I believe that Oklahoma will win the National Championship because of their electric offense and great coaching,” senior Danny Salisbury said. Salisbury is a Maryland fan at heart, but understands the challenges they will face this year after a disappointing 3-9 season last year.

Despite all different opinions and predictions, especially in the community of Annandale, there remains one constant among College Football fans across the nation: the return of Big 10 football will be beneficial for the conference, as well as for support of NCAA football. There is no question that this season will contain a plethora of unexpected outcomes.

As for whether there will be regret for this decision from the committee, as well as its impact on other college sports, and possibly the future of high school sports, we will just have to wait and see. As we all know, in a year like 2020, anything can happen.