Daily Archives: September 13, 2020

“It’s light-years different than it was five weeks ago.”

Apparently, this is a thing now.

The Big Ten’s council of presidents and chancellors will meet Sunday to review the latest medical information and possibly vote again on when the fall football season can begin, sources told ESPN.

The medical subcommittee of the Big Ten’s return to competition task force met Saturday with a smaller group of eight presidents and chancellors, who pushed the process forward for a possible revote as early as Sunday.

Saturday’s presentation focused on the medical information, but Sunday’s meeting will broaden the focus to include how to start, when to start, and the medical thresholds that must be met in order to return. Specific return dates are expected to be discussed, according to a source.

Six votes need to change from the initial 11-3 vote in order for the conference to proceed with plans to start a 2020 season.  I doubt they’d be planning something like this without a decent indication that minds have been changed.  But the logistics still sound like a bitch ($$).

… But multiple programs face obstacles, including Wisconsin, which announced on Thursday that its football program would pause athletic activities for two weeks due to its positive tests. That means the Badgers won’t be able to practice until Sept. 24 at the earliest. All of Maryland’s athletics activities are currently suspended as well. Penn State this week paused workouts for several unspecified teams.

All of which leads to a distinct possibility of half a loaf.

If the presidents vote to start the fall football season, the earliest time frame for kickoff would be mid-to-late October. A key factor is how quickly the conference determines a testing agreement and when supplies can be in place. Sources said it’s also possible not all Big Ten schools choose to play a fall season.

I’m not sure any of that matters, because the whole thing sounds like a delivery system to get Ohio State into the CFP picture.  How that’s gonna work when the Big Ten plays fewer games than the ACC, Big 12 and SEC is a problem to be whined about down the road, I guess.

Oh, yeah — speaking of matters that are light-years different than before, here’s one that’s not.

One source added that the league’s television partners are supportive of an October start.

When they say it’s about the money…

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Filed under Big Ten Football, The Body Is A Temple

TOUCHDOWN: 0 plays, 0 yards, 0:00

If you’re wondering how that’s even possible, achievement unlocked:

Next time, run it out of the back of the end zone, kid.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Missing fall practice is the new missing spring practice.

Kudos to Georgia Tech for getting a conference win on the road yesterday against **snicker** a rebuilding Florida State team.  The Jackets were the team that played harder and deserved the win.

Not that they made it easy on themselves, with two field goals and an extra point blocked.  If you’re wondering what the problem was, let Coach 404 explain ($$):

Collins blamed himself for the blocks. As the Yellow Jackets examined their COVID-19 protocols before they started practice, Collins decided to eliminate twice-weekly periods of eight live extra point and field goal reps because he worried they would require too many people to be too close together for too long a period of time. “That’s on me,” Collins said. “That’s a coaching error. We will get that fixed.”

Echoes of Navy there.  As I said then, expect coaches to scramble to figure out how to work around COVID concerns in practice.

That only goes so far, though.  There’s no way to scramble around players missing practice.

For Auburn counterpart Gus Malzahn, Saturday signified the two-week countdown to the season opener, which means that every positive COVID-19 test moving forward could have a significant impact.

The Crimson Tide and the Tigers conducted scrimmages inside their respective venues, with Malzahn announcing that 10 players sat out because of COVID-19 issues. Malzahn added that there were two new positive tests this past week and that half of those sidelined Saturday are projected starters.

“I think all these guys will be back for the opener,” Malzahn said on a Zoom call. “The issue is that we’re two weeks away from our first opponent, and we’re going to really focus on a game plan. If you don’t have these guys for the game plan and get them the week of the game — it’s just the preparation reps that are the challenge.”

He’s not shitting bricks.  Yet.

Meanwhile in Knoxville, Tennessee’s had so many players miss practice that Jeremy Pruitt has lost count of who’s available and who’s not.  The players aren’t worried, though.

Vols players insist they won’t be defeated by the coronavirus now, even though 44 players missed last Saturday’s practice, with most of the absences due to either positive tests or contact tracing.

“I would say that the team morale has been high, and I don’t think it’s really hurt what we have going,” fifth-year senior receiver Brandon Johnson said Friday afternoon during a Zoom call. “We kind of knew what we were getting into during this pandemic, and we knew that at certain periods of time there may be people out for X reasons. I just think we were ready for the things that may happen.”

Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said Thursday that he’s lost count of who’s available and not available as the Vols reach the two-week mark before their Sept. 26 opener at South Carolina, but the players don’t seem fazed. Johnson has not detected any timing trouble in the passing game when components have been missing, adding, “I think we’ve done a great job of filling in where we need to fill in.”

A scratched scrimmage last Saturday and a shortened scrimmage Wednesday night inside Neyland Stadium do not seem to be concerning factors either.

Bold talk, or whistling in the dark?  I bet Pruitt doesn’t know for sure.  Yet.

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Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

A reminder of Jeff Long’s enduring genius

Les Miles has a season and a game under his belt.  In that short stretch, he’s managed to lose to Coastal Carolina twice.  He’s got a plan, though.

That ought to fix things, for sure.

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Filed under Wit And Wisdom From The Hat