The Big Ten has announced it will cancel all non-conference sporting events this fall and proceed with conference-only scheduling. It's a move many predicted and it is almost certain to force the rest of country to follow suit. Obviously this will have the biggest impact on college football.
It looks like the ACC is set to follow the Big Ten's lead and go with a conference-only slate, and the Pac-12 may not be far behind:
With a pandemic raging, this obviously makes sense. Theoretically it would cut down on travel and potentially either delay the start of the season -- which usually features a few weeks of non-conference games -- or give teams more time off during it. It's highly likely all the major conferences announce this within the next few weeks.
The teams left out in the cold here are the mid-majors and lower-tier schools who get paid to visit Power Five conference teams for games. Those smaller school count on those payouts to help sustain their athletic budgets. We could see schools axing a ton of sports over the next few weeks because of expected financial losses.
If this trend is adopted nationwide it would mean we lose a lot of hyped non-conference matchups. That's disappointing and will have a major impact on how the season is viewed from a rankings perspective. That said, I don't think we need to worry about losing a national championship tournament just yet.
The world could look very different in December when the playoff committee would go about picking teams to participate. Selecting four teams to travel to a bubble for a few weeks in late December and January could work. I don't know if that would be smart, but it seems feasible.
The decision to go with conference-only schedules was telegraphed for a few weeks. If this is the only way we get college football in the fall, fans should embrace it.