This is a column, believe it or not given our moment, about the absence of news.
The Big Ten Conference shut down football for the fall season Aug. 11.
Spring football, it was said or assumed, was still on the table, at least in vague theory.
Two days after that, Purdue coach Jeff Brohm announced a thoughtful, detailed and seemingly plausible plan for an eight-game Big Ten season from Feb. 27 through April 17, 2021, and then a 10-game fall season from Oct. 2 to Dec. 11.
But a day before that, Ohio State coach Ryan Day said, “I think that starting the first week in January would be the best way to go. That way there is some separation between that season and the (2021) season.”
Two days later, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, on Dan Dakich’s Indianapolis radio show “We’ve been working on this Dan. I can’t leak it to you. I’d love to give it to you but I can’t leak it.”
The following week, Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour held a news conference from which the main takeaway was Barbour casting doubt on whether the Big Ten actually held a vote to shut down.
But she also said, to a question about football, “We are far down the road on concepts. We've put something together that I think is very compelling and our student-athletes and our fans and our communities will be pretty interested in.’’
Penn State head coach James Franklin held a presser two days later in which, in a lengthy opening statement focusing on the importance of football to the PSU/State College community, he said, “as we turn our attention to the potential of a winter season, …’’
It’s now two weeks since Alvarez’ comment. I’m surprised there has not been an announcement, but the rough details of a plan are starting to take shape.
Last Wednesday the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported a plan that would start the season in January and end with a Big Ten championship game in March.
It calls for games - probably multiple games on a single day - to be played in indoor stadiums in Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Detroit and possibly St. Louis and Syracuse.
We’re not done talking about things to which the word “reportedly,’’ must be attached.
Friday, CBS’ Dennis Dodd and Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported that the conference is talking about restarting Thanksgiving week.
The argument for a winter season is easy to make. It obviously helps any B10 player who’s a candidate for the NFL draft; you’ve got to wonder if this plan means the NFL has decided absolutely it will not push the draft back.
It would give players who aren’t draft eligible a better chance to physically recover before the 2021 college season. It also may ease the pandemic-created logistical nightmare of tweaking eligibility, scholarship limits and roster management.
On the other hand, it’s hard to believe that the health and safety concerns that caused the Big Ten to shut down September football will be fixed by Thanksgiving.
There are six B10 teams in the AP preseason 25; Selection Sunday for the national championship playoff is Dec. 20, at which point B10 teams would have only four games.
Surely the committee wouldn’t consider teams that have played less than half a season, …. But what if, say, Ohio State would at that point be 4-0 with a point differential of something like 165-10?
Would the Buckeyes get invited? Would they cancel or forfeit the rest of their conference schedule to play for the title? The answer to both of those questions is almost certainly no, but how would Buckeye Nation feel about that?
Stop the world. I want to get off.