Jansen: “We’ll Be Lucky To See Big Ten Football In January”

Big Ten analyst Jon Jansen does not expect the conference to start its season around Thanksgiving – or at any point in 2020

Zach Gelb
August 31, 2020 - 12:55 pm
Justin Fields Ohio State

USA Today Images


The Big Ten is reportedly considering starting its season Thanksgiving weekend, this after announcing – and reiterating – that the fall season would be postponed until spring.

While Big Ten fans are desperate for football, starting the season in late-November would be problematic for many reasons.

“Can you imagine the Big Ten starting up at the end of November?” former Michigan offensive lineman and current Big Ten analyst Jon Jansen said on The Zach Gelb Show. “These conferences playing and having a national championship game, the College Football Playoffs, while the Big Ten is still in the middle of their regular season? Will the college football committee possibly delay to include the Big Ten? No, why would they?”

Indeed, if the Big Ten begins its season in late-November, it likely wouldn’t be included in the College Football Playoff. So wouldn’t it make sense to start in mid-October? Or even late-September?

“No question,” Jansen said. “And I’m a Wolverine and this is going to hurt to say, but with the talent that is on Ohio State’s roster – they came out in the AP poll as No. 2 – they have an ability to have a national champion, a possible Heisman Trophy candidate inside the Big Ten, yet they’re not going to be at the party.”

That Heisman Trophy candidate, of course, is quarterback Justin Fields, who led Ohio State to the playoff last season.

If Jansen had to guess, he does not think Big Ten football will happen in 2020.

“I think we’ll be lucky to see Big Ten football in January,” he said. “Anytime before that, I don’t see it happening. To your point, what’s going to be different at the end of September or the beginning of November or the end of November? You’re talking about 60 days. What changes that much in that amount of time to start a football season? I think we’re lucky to see it in January. Unfortunately, I think that they have stated their claim, they’ve planted their flag, and they’re going to ride with the decision that they’ve made. 

“Until you hear from the presidents or chancellors or you hear that they’re a part of the conversation, everything else that happens – we’ve already seen athletic directors want to play; football coaches want to play; the players want to play. But until you hear from the power brokers, the decision-makers, there really is no value to that conversation.”