A JERSEY GUY: Watch For CFB Domino Effect

Mark Blaudschun

Officially, it's a labeled a game, not a sport, but in today's COVID-19 everything-is-different world, dominos might become very much a trending sport in the world of college football.

Here's why.

The first major move of the summer/fall is expected on Wednesday when the Ivy League will announce its plans for its fall sports.

According to various sources, there is an overwhelming belief that the Ivy League will suspend its college football season until the spring of 2021.

If that happens, it will not be a surprise if other conferences--particularly the Group of 5 FBS conferences and perhaps a large number of FCS schools will follow the Ivy League's lead.

And if THAT happens, the domino theory kicks in and the world of college football from Lincoln, Nebraska to Miami, Fla. will be affected in some way.

The NCAA as a whole has generally always been in a reactive rather than proactive organization.

College football has been a snap shot of that theory, seldom coming up with ideas that are not forced on it or trending.

The Ivy League was the leader of the pack in the suspension of college basketball in March.

It appears to be filling the same role in football.

Although there has been constant chatter of what schools and conferences might do regarding football being played in the fall, no one has yet taken any decisive measures or even unveiled a specific plan.

Too early is the argument, which is coupled with statements such as those offered by American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco, who said," I'm still confident that we can play a full season this fall.''

Aresco did throw in a caveat,  ""if the students don't come back to campus, than I do think it would be difficult to play.''

Let's play the "What If'' game for a moment, starting with what if the Ivy League does cancel football this fall?

Would conference in the FCS and Group of 5 conferences such as the Mountain West, Conference USA, MAC, Sunbelt and even the AAC, be inclined to make a similar move or cut down their fall schedule to only conference games?

If the latter does happen, then the Power 5 conferences such as the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and Big Ten will have to adjust because many of those schools have non-conference games scheduled against Group of 5 Conference schools.

That could force the Power 5 conferences to curtail their fall schedules to play only conference games.

And that would cause more dominos to tumble, such as what happens to a schools such as Notre Dame or Army, who play independent schedules?

The ACC would have a difficult choice to make since Notre Dame is contractually obligated to play 5 ACC schools every season and is scheduled to play 6 ACC schools this fall, including a national showdown against Clemson in November in South Bend.

Notre Dame also has USC and Stanford as well as Wisconsin on its schedule this season.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that NO ONE wants to drop ND from its schedule, which would cause some scheduling quirks if a decision is made to play only conference games

How quickly all of this will unfold is open to debate. 

There is little debate that everyone in college football will have to make a decision by the end of July on whether to start the season on time.

What also seems obvious is that once the Ivy League makes it announcement on Wednesday, the clock will start ticking.

And the world of college football will have again made a significant change.


Mark Blaudschun