2020 will be nothing if not flexible.

Literally making it up as you go along…

Of course, it would help if the powers that be actually came up with some sort of rule of thumb for when a team might cancel.  Unlike, say, this.

College athletic leaders are bracing themselves for game interruptions connected to team-wide viral outbreaks. The season has yet to start and already three scheduled openers have been delayed because of COVID-19 clusters. UL-Monroe, with nine new positive cases, moved its season opener against Troy to December. NC State and East Carolina, both recently having paused workouts for COVID issues, pushed back openers against Virginia Tech and Marshall, respectively.

Even the SEC isn’t exempt. Auburn has missed multiple days of practice for COVID-related issues and Tennessee took off a day for “a few” positive cases. Last week, LSU and Oklahoma endured significant losses at position groups because of quarantine protocols. OU was down to one player at an unnamed position, and LSU practiced with just four offensive linemen.

What if this happens during the season?

“That’s a hard one,” answers South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner. “That decision will have to be made in the coming week.”

You sound like a prepared man, Ray.

Two of the conferences intending to have play do appear to be formulating some plans for this, according to Dellenger.

However, in the Big 12 at least, the issue is in the last stages of finalization. Athletic directors are smoothing out plans recommended to them by the conference’s coaches, says Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. While nothing is final yet, conference leaders are moving toward approving a policy requiring a team to have a designated number of healthy, eligible players at each position and overall as a team—a model that could be adopted across all leagues. The SEC is exploring a similar policy.

“It’s an on-going conversation,” Bowlsby says in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “It’s got a lot of moving parts.”

One of the more favored options would mandate that a team have at least 53 total players available to play, with a minimum number at each position. The positional standards may include such requirements as one quarterback, six offensive linemen, six defensive linemen, two or three receivers and so on. Decision-makers have somewhat settled on the 53-man number based on data. The average college football team uses between 45-65 players per game.

I’m gonna beat that drum again — the teams with the advantage in 2020 are the ones with real roster depth.  That’s going to trump coaching continuity, quarterback continuity, spring practice or any other factor you care to name.  I don’t care how experienced your quarterback is, when his team is missing half of its starters due to COVID and faces another team that’s at full strength it’s gonna have a significant impact that will be tough to overcome.



Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

17 responses to “2020 will be nothing if not flexible.

  1. 69Dawg

    Tell it all Senator, tell it all. There is the possibility of some real blowouts if one team is intact and the other team is down to 53 made up of walkons and 3rd stringers. The fans are going to go apesh*t crazy over that.


  2. All of this is why I’m glad we have Ron Courson above all else. We’ll probably end up with some cases, but I have to assume with our testing protocol and the constant messaging that has to be going on, we may end up as the intact team rather than the walk-on team.


  3. Question: will scholarship and rosters be different for the leagues that play vs those that don’t? Cause I bet OSU is going to want a 110 man roster.


  4. SoCalDawg

    Isn’t 53 the same roster # for pros as well?


    • PTC DAWG

      There are so many ways to break down how NFL teams build their roster. Some teams build with youth while others collect veteran players. While no one formula for stacking an NFL roster is iron-clad, one rule in the NFL is: Teams are only allowed to have 53 players on their active roster. Of these 53, only 46 players can dress out for the actual game.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It will be interesting to see how that great game day coach in FL manages with half his starters out. I’m sure he’ll come up with something.


    • Down Island Way

      Talk about all of a sudden leg cramps for a well placed timeout…will coaches/institution ad’s be honest about covid related game suspensions/cancellations…should a university not want to play this week, here’s your covid numbers…not saying that would be rampant, but as a one time game/team that they don’t want to take the field against this week…


  6. Don in Mar-a-Lago

    “One of the more favored options would mandate…a minimum number at each position.”


  7. FlyingPeakDawg

    Answer this: Bama completes 9 games with an 8-1 record. Auburn completes 8 games (ducking the Bama game “because of COVID problems”) and finishes at 8-0. Say the Bama loss is to LSU who Auburn beats. Who is the division winner?

    This is going to be a mess. They aren’t prepared and should quit pretending it can work itself out. Call it an exhibition season. Set minimums for player participation. Let games be cancelled. Hand out participation trophies and say it was all in the name of social justice (and not about the money) to save face and have a cause. Let everyone go home for the holidays. Select a few key matchups for a handful of bowl games to get us through early January. #staysafe #dontdie #dontkill

    Liked by 1 person

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    I’m thinking we could have Covid and non-Covid squads. Kinda like the old varsity and JV squads.


  9. Previously Paul

    What if waiting to start the season backfires? What happens if, by late September, some schools have gone back to online only due to major COVID flare ups? Do the SEC and ACC simply play what games they can with the teams they have or is it a requirement that everyone is ready to field a team the first weekend? Do we start winging it from there or is the whole season simply run what you brung? I’m not sure that’s a bold strategy Cotton.


  10. gotthepicture

    Maybe they could have some teams apply as backups to play the games if one team can’t compete, like Nebraska, North Carolina State A & T Intramural Champions, VFW Post 457 and the Militia of the Ozarks’ team. It will be like the WWII seasons all over again.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Amarillo Field; Iowa Pre-Flight; Jacksonville NAS(lost to the Dawgs & beat FU); Randolph Field(12-0, 508 PF & 19 PA) !