The Pac-12 announced on Thursday night that it would indeed resume play for the Fall season, after having previously joined the Big Ten in voting to postpone their season amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Big Ten earlier this month reversed course and voted to resume play, which will begin in the latter half of October. The Pac-12 intends to being playing in early November, and will play a seven-game schedule.
The Pac-12’s original vote stated that it would postpone all Fall sports until at least the start of the new year in January, so this is not simply a resumption of a previous considered contingency but in fact an official reversal of course, agreeing to resume play more nearly two months prior to what they has previous decided was a target date.
With the Big Ten and the Pac-12 heading back to action, all of the Power Five conferences will now be actively participating this year, which I’m sure is a relief to NFL college scouts around the league, and as a bonus, several high-profile players who had previously opted to skip the season have been choosing to opt back in to play one final year before entering the 2021 NFL Draft.
Many talent evaluators including Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert have gone on record as saying that those who do not have 2020 tape will be at a disadvantage, though perhaps not significantly, depending upon the case of both player and evaluator. The player with the more recent quality tape, however, would have the tiebreaker.
One thing that is yet to be determined for the Pac-12, and possibly for the Big Ten as well, is whether or not their conference teams will be eligible for participation in the College Football Playoff this year due to their postponed and shortened seasons, though as of now neither has been given any indication that they would be considered ineligible.
Frankly, it will be interesting to see how college football at its highest levels will look this year under the circumstances being played. And it will be interesting to see how the shortened seasons and things of that nature will play into how NFL teams evaluate players, particularly those who perform above expectations in 2020.
Even with a number of players choosing to opt back in, we have also seen a large number of high-profile players who had been deem likely or possible first-round draft picks who will not play this year, so we will have to see how their decision affects their draft stock. It didn’t hurt Nick Bosa Jadeveon Clowney to skip a year.