James Franklin’s Idea To Play College Football This Fall Is A Perfect Example Of Just How Complicated That May Be

james franklin idea college football season

Getty Image / Scott Taetsch

As of this moment, nobody has a clue when, or if, the 2020 college football season is going to kickoff.

There are plenty of rumors and ideas being floated around as to how the season could begin this fall as scheduled, but as ESPN’s Heather Dinich recently explained, every day that passes without any news means the actuality of there being football this fall is “decreasing with each day.”

Penn State head coach James Franklin is the latest to offer up his thoughts about how the season can get going this fall and while it may not be all that wild of an idea, it shows just how complicated this entire situation could be.

Franklin recently spoke with Dinich at ESPN and addressed the very real possibility that schools around the country are going to open their doors at different times and that’s exactly where the confusion begins from a conference and scheduling standpoint.

“I can’t imagine that right now we’re all going to open at the same time,” he told ESPN. “If the SEC, for example, opens up a month earlier than the Big Ten, and the Big Ten is able to open up and 12 of the 14 schools, if two schools can’t open, I don’t see a conference — any conference — penalizing 80% or 75% of the schools because 25% of them can’t open.

Unless there’s a level playing field and the NCAA comes out and says that no one’s opening before this date to try to help with that, what you really end up doing is you end up hurting the conference. Say two or three of the schools in our conference that are ranked in the top 10 have the ability to open and a couple schools don’t, and you make the decision to hold the entire conference back, you’re hurting the conference as a whole in terms of your ability to compete.”

Again, his thoughts make a lot of sense and could be a reality in a few months, but it also points to the fact that the uncertainties around the situation far outweigh any certainties.

Would having ’12 of the 14 schools’ in a conference playing football this fall be better than no football at all? Absolutely, but what happens to those two schools in the conference? Do they just accept the fact that they’ll be missing out on revenue and exposure? That doesn’t sound good from a financial standpoint and certainly not from a recruiting standpoint.

What about crowning a conference champion in a conference where two teams didn’t show up that season or played a shortened schedule? Say the SEC has a full schedule and goes about things status quo on the field and scheduling wise, but the ACC doesn’t? That just doesn’t check out.

Franklin’s idea may honestly be the most logical one yet in terms of starting the season this fall, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it makes all the sense in the world, clearly.