USC football’s hopes of playing in the spring hinge on the Pac-12 and Big Ten making it happen.
Will USC football play this spring? Fans can only hope the Pac-12 is as far along as the Big Ten appears to be on the planning front.
The Big Ten has a preliminary structure outlined for a season beginning in January, according to a report from Blue White Illustrated, a Penn State Rivals site, on Wednesday.
Intriguingly, the conference may be looking to pair up with the Pac-12 for a spring Rose Bowl game as well.
USC football could still aim for a Rose Bowl appearance in 2021.
The report from Ryan Snyder and Nate Bauer points to an eight-game schedule for the Big Ten which would kick off on Jan. 7 or Jan. 8, with midweek games progressing into the weekend.
Games will be moved to neutral sites, presumably domes to limit weather concerns during the winter months.
The season would end with a conference championship game in March, possibly played at the Rose Bowl.
“Sources indicate that there is also a possibility, with the occurrence of a similar ‘spring’ season for the Pac-12, that the two conferences could pit their champions against each other for a traditional Rose Bowl,” the report continued.
If the Pac-12 doesn’t already have a plan in place, the Big Ten could certainly provide them a road map. After all, it would be significantly easier to host an eight-game schedule beginning in January in states like California, Arizona, Washington and Oregon than in the Big Ten footprint. Utah and Colorado would climate hurdles that would need addressing, but the majority of the conference would be set to compete.
Best of all, coordination between the Pac-12 and the Big Ten could see a mouthwatering finish to the spring season. The idea of a Rose Bowl between the Pac-12 champion and the Big Ten champion in March is idyllic.
Why stop there? Why not hold a mini bowl season between the two conferences, matching up teams by standings to end the season with a slate of cross-conference games?
A mid-March finish would allow for time ahead of the NFL Draft in late April. It would also create a five-month buffer between the end of spring football and the beginning of the 2020 season, giving player’s time to rest their bodies.
It’s a good plan. The conferences just need to make it happen.