Back in late May I did a radio interview and was asked about my confidence level on whether or not we would have a 2020 college football season.
I said, in effect, that we would definitely play college football this Fall but we just didn’t know what it would look like. The only variable was whether or not there would be fans in the seats. Based on the folks I had talked to at the time, I was extremely confident that the 2020 season would start on time and play its entire schedule.
On June 26 in this space I wrote that I was starting to get a little nervous over the number positive tests among players who had returned to campus. But I still thought we were going to play.
Today, for the first time, I’m genuinely concerned that we’re not going to be able to play college football in 2020.
Sure hope I’m wrong.
But when you talk to college officials you can hear the frustration in their voices. They’ve been working daily since mid-March, participating in countless ZOOM calls, trying to put together a workable plan that would allow the games to be played safely. With enough work and enough planning, it could be a win-win for the players and the fans.
Their hope and belief was that as the summer moved along the numbers would get better and there would be positive momentum to play, even if there were no fans in the seats.
I’m not mocking here. When all you’ve got for a plan is hope and belief in the face of a pandemic, you ain’t got much. And that’s still all they’ve got.
**–We’re running out of time. A decision of some kind is coming late July or early August. The decision to go or not go with the season needs to be made a minimum of four weeks out from the first game. I expect the commissioners who run the Power 5 will wait as long as possible in order to get the best data possible.
**–If a conference like the SEC decides that the season will not start on time, it could cancel the season or leave it open ended to see if a window of opportunity appears.
Worth noting: There are five Saturdays in October and four in November if the SEC wanted to play a reduced schedule.
They’re going to hang on to the possibility of playing in 2020, stunted format or otherwise, as long as they can, so I expect postponement rather than outright cancellation in the short term. They’ll hope as long as they can.