Penn State Football: Big Ten's "spring" season taking shape
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Sources: Outline of Big Ten's "spring" season taking shape

Plans for the Big Ten's 2021 "spring" football season are continuing to take shape, according to Blue White Illustrated sources.

Now, more than two weeks after the conference postponed all of its fall sports, pushing football competition back until at least the spring, a preliminary structure has been outlined for an abbreviated Big Ten season.

Will James Franklin and the Nittany Lions get an opportunity to compete this spring?
Will James Franklin and the Nittany Lions get an opportunity to compete this spring? (Steve Manuel/BWI)

Here's how it looks, at present:

- A pre-set eight-game schedule will begin the week after New Year's Day, likely kicking off on Wednesday, Jan. 7 or Thursday, Jan. 8, and progressing through the weekend.

- The goal will be to not have games overlapping with each other, opening up multiple television windows to various broadcast partners.

- Every team would have one bye weekend.

- No games would be held on campuses, instead moving the entirety of the schedule to neutral sites, which are still to be determined.

- A conference championship game between the top finishers in the East and West divisions would take place the second weekend in March at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

- Additionally, 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.

It should also be noted that other start times are still being considered. We've been informed that a January start is the most likely scenario at the moment, but other start dates have been discussed. Starting around Thanksgiving has some popularity among coaches, as it would further separate the gap between the fall 2021 season. There's also been discussion about not starting until after the Super Bowl in February.

Based on Sandy Barbour's comments last Monday, indicating that some of the broad concepts behind its spring schedule could be unveiled by the Big Ten "in the next week or so," a more formal announcement could be in the works in the near future from the conference.

In the meantime, as Barbour also said last week, Penn State football and the rest of the Big Ten has moved forward into NCAA-approved 12-hour practice weeks with an eye toward bringing a spring season to fruition.

"(The coaches) are excited about an opportunity. They're excited about the ability to point for something, to train for something, to use the fall as true player development," Barbour said. "They're gonna they're gonna look for the silver linings here and there. We all took a little pause middle of last week and... I had my own little tantrum, in my disappointment about that there wasn't going to be any fall sports.

"But then... I got up and we had our leadership team meeting and I said, Guys, I'm fired up. I'm fired up about the opportunity ahead, how we pull this off. It's going to take a lot of work, not unlike the last five months. But I'm fired up to get stuff done, and I think our student athletes and our coaches, for the most part, have have taken a very similar approach."


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