Pac 12 Heavily Favored Not to Hold Any Spring Football Games in 2021

Pac-12 logo on the field.

Will the Pac-12 play football games in the spring of 2021? Photo from Pikist.

  • The Pac-12 has announced that they will not play football in the fall but plan to have a season in the spring
  • The logistics of a spring season are unclear – especially if the ACC, SEC play in the fall
  • With COVID-19 still a risk after the fall, find out if we think there will be Pac-12 spring football

The Big 10 and Pac-12 made waves this past week when they announced that they are not going to be playing any college football games in the fall. They allayed concerns by suggesting that they’re going to play in the spring but the odds show that’s not likely to happen. Is there any chance they play or are they just saying the right things right now?

2021 Pac-12 Spring Football Odds

Will Pac-12 Play Any Games During Spring 2021 (March 21st – June 21st)? Odds
No -800
Yes +425

Odds as of August 14th

Pac-12 Pushes Football To The Spring

The Pac-12 has been one of the most transparent conferences when it comes to their plans for the fall, as they’ve openly said from the get-go that they are not likely going to be able to play. The schools in the area are under no political pressure or cultural pressure, and even the players there have said they don’t want to play unless it’s safe to do so.

That’s why it’s a bit surprising to hear the schools now say that the season is not canceled but is in fact postponed until the spring. On one hand, they’ve been fairly honest throughout this process. At the same time, this might just be good public relations as the players might start revolting or transferring if the season is canceled altogether.

Will There Be A Second Wave, A Vaccine?

One of the biggest concerns for Pac-12 football is uncertainty of the future. While some countries have done a great job suppressing the virus (see: Canada, New Zealand, Vietnam), the United States has lagged behind for a number of reasons.

Part of it is the lack of universal healthcare, part of it is various underlying conditions (obesity, high blood pressure) and part of it is people not wanting to comply with the CDC guidelines (wearing a mask, social distancing). That begs the question as to how the country will handle a second wave?

The good thing with the United States is because it’s a pure form of capitalism, they will likely be first to the table with medicines and vaccines. As optimistic as some people might be, though, we might not ever get a vaccine for COVID-19. People like Bill Gates and Dr. Anthony Faucci have stated that even early 2021 is optimistic.

Beyond that, we still have a whole host of issues beyond that. If people aren’t willing to wear masks, how likely are they to take vaccines? What if the vaccine has side effects? There are so many uncertainties at this point that it makes it tough to see football happening in the spring.

What Will The Spring Season Look Like?

Although it sounds good to say that the Pac-12 is avoiding the fall and shifting to the spring, there are some major issues with that assertion. Just what would a season look like in the spring? Think about it: if it’s simply the Pac-12 and Big 10 playing and everyone else plays in the fall, is it even worth it at that point? What are they playing for?

Beyond that, we have to start considering the repercussions of playing in the spring. Why would players get involved with the NFL combine, pro days and the NFL Draft all supposed to happen in the spring? Oregon tackle Penei Sewell is expected to be a Top-5 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Why would he bother playing spring football with the draft around the corner?

Lastly, while the schools talk up their concerns about player safety, they would essentially be having two football seasons in 2021, which takes a massive toll on the body. It seems like they’re saying the right things right now but realistically, it will be quite difficult to have a season in the spring.

What’s The Best Bet?

At this point, I have a tough time seeing a vaccine coming to fruition and solving this problem completely. Given what we’ve seen from previous viruses and pandemics, these vaccines aren’t able to get turned around this quickly – even if it’s called Operation Warp Speed.

Playing football in the spring is the same as playing football in the fall: it’s going to be about risk tolerance. While some conferences like the SEC appear to be comfortable with those risks, the Pac-12 schools don’t look like they’re going to go for it. That will probably be the same come the spring time.

With the virus still in play and logistics a major concern, I wouldn’t be on the Pac-12 playing any games in the spring of 2021.

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David Golokhov

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