The first Power 5 domino has fallen. The Big Ten announced this afternoon, less than a week after unveiling a revised Fall 2020 schedule, that the conference was shutting down for the year and that the universities will aim to play in the spring of 2021, instead. Such is a messy proposition for the aspiring pro players who currently call the Big Ten home—playing in the spring would run in direct conflict with the 2021 NFL Draft process and would prevent players from fully partaking in the workouts and interviews NFL teams will be undertaking.
From a logistics standpoint, playing in the spring opens more questions than answers. Will the conference really look to play two full seasons in eight months? What will the pro day circuit look like for those aspiring NFL athletes? Will it take place before a spring season or will it run right up against the NFL draft in late April (or possibly May, if the NFL bumps the event to accommodate new scheduling)?
If there are alternative options available to Big Ten athletes this fall, don’t be surprised to see them taken. One such avenue would be seeing schools from the Big 12, ACC, and SEC take on Big Ten athletes who are aspiring to make the leap to the pros in 2021 if those conferences remain committed to playing in 2020. This process is already commonplace with some schools taking on JUCO talent, but the Big Ten is a completely different animal and may host the second best crop of NFL prospects in this year’s cycle.
Which Big Ten prospects might be better served dialing up a transfer if it’s available to them ahead of the start of the current remaining CFB schedules? Ignore the logistics of scholarships—here are five dream pairings for Big Ten prospects and schools still scheduled to play this fall.