There is no guarantee college football returns in the fall amid the COVID-19 crisis, and there is little direction on how conferences would proceed even if there is a return to play.
10 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick spoke to Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger on Thursday about the conditions necessary for a 2020 season, as well as the potential contingencies for a return to play. Whatever schedule emerges, it's likely to look far different from a traditional format. A truncated season certainly in play.
"I think it's a very real possibility," Swarbrick told Forde and Dellenger. "There is support for a conference only plus-one [non-conference game]. If that's the model, we'd be fine, because [Notre Dame] would be most people's plus-one."
Forde and Dellenger noted some potential advantage for particular conferences. Those with schools clustered within a same region could feasible play close to a full schedule. For conferences like the Mountain West, they could have teams double up on opponents in 2020.
"We could look at the possibility of Colorado State and Wyoming, 67 miles apart, maybe they play home and home," Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson said. "They're our two closest campuses. Maybe they play twice in one season for the first time ever."
The college football national champion has played at least 13 games in every season since 2005. USC won the national title at 11–0 in 2004.