2020-09-02 09:53

Most of you might have missed it, but based on the original plans the college football season did start last weekend.

Of course the covid-19-pandemic did crush those plans and the reality is, some sort of season does start on upcoming Thursday 3rd of September and it will last based on current plans until mid-January, but you never know.

While I write these words, I ask myself whether I am ready to do my blog again this season, this some sort of season.
The answer is, likely not.

When the pandemic did start spreading inside the US it was at the end of regular season of College Basketball.
All wanted to play March Madness, the playoffs for College Basketball, but the season was canceled shortly before the start of the playoffs.

Since then did college sport try to get back into regular business, but since it's a complicated structure with college based in US States having different rules regarding health care and protection, being part of a Conferences or being Independent, having sports often as the face of the university, it is logic that the decisions were not equal on the 450+ teams in the different levels of competition.

In Summer the football teams had to think about their upcoming seasons and it went wild.

In some conferences, players did speak for not to play, some did speak to play, some universities decided not to play, some conferences decided to play only conference games or less games.

Based on that, the planned schedule was obsolete, and a new one had to be created.

I will show you how the FBS teams / Conferences did decide to go.

I start with the conferences, which did postpone / cancel fall season sport.

Mid American Conference
The Conference did announce on August 7th or 8th that they would postpone fall sports of 2020 and that they will try to play in spring 2021.
They were the 1st FBS conference to do so (the 1st conference overall might have been Ivy League of FCS, but I did not check that, just from the top of my head).
So that means all teams from that conference will not play a single game in this fall and winter, based on the info I have now.
As it seems, one of the most successful teams of the conference had even asked to cancel the season all along.
Main concerns for the small conference are likely the additional costs for extensive testing, if a season would have been played during the pandemic, which is especially hard under the circumstances that most non-conference games are canceled by the power 5 conferences and that those games did usually provide big revenues.
I'm not very familiar with the finances of the colleges, but the basic rules is, that small college are at the limit of possibilities (even in dept) if all goes OK, and this season it's much worse with more costs on less revenue.
So likely facing unknown amount of extra costs for student health while facing less revenue out of inter-conference games and ticket sales the season was postponed.
Right now I'm not very confident they will play in spring, but you never know.

Mountain West Conference
On August 10th did the MWC decide to do as the MAC did, postponing the season, but as far as I found out, it's not clear whether they would play in spring, if possible.
Right now the season is basically canceled.

Big 10
On August 11th did the the 1st Power 5 conference announce the postponed of the season 2020 to spring 2021, the Big 10.
This decision was not 100% from all teams, as it seems, up to 3 teams wanted to play, and the Nebraska Cornhuskers did even announce openly they would try to schedule non-conference games for fall 2020.
So far, I only found info that 8 Huskers players did sue the Big 10 for damages based on the postponed.
I think right now, Huskers and all other Big 10 teams will not play.
A player from Ohio State did start a petition to play a few weeks ago and got many signatures, but it did not change the decision.
In addition, families of players did protest in front of the Big 10, but it did not change the decision.
I can understand that for several players, this decision looks like a death penalty, since they need the season to build up a draft case.
Per schools on average 5 to 7 players per season are drafted, so for roughly 50 to 100 players in the Big 10 (and on top other conferences) the shift will mean likely be taken later, or not at all.
Which means a lot of less money or even shattered dreams, careers and eventually lives in terms of money and possibilities.
Many of those students do not have a real plan B, so if no NFL, they have no real plans.
Whether a spring season will help them with a draft being held end of April 2021 (if it is not shifted), I'm not sure.

On the same day as the Big 10 did the PAC-12 also announce the postponement of the season 2020, with the desire to play at spring 2021.
In this case, the main driver for the postponement were the players.
To understand this, you have to know that the pandemic did hit hard early on the west coast, and it did not go away since.
So somehow, the players did build some sort of union and wrote a letter to the PAC-12, demanding safety standards and other issues, if the conference decided to play in fall.
Well, the conference decided to postpone and we will see, what will happen until early 2021.
That was from my point of view a brave move by the players.

That’s it with the conferences not playing, not to the conferences playing.

The SEC did announce, after the Big 10 and PAc-12 did postpone their season, they will play in fall, but they did change their schedule into a conference only schedule, which means they did cancel the planned non-conference games and start the season a bit later, playing just 10 games.
So far, no concerns were raised and as far as I know, they do test extensively.

The ACC did the same as the SEC, but went even further regarding their scheduling and their teams.
Even before the big wave of postponed season of other conferences did come in it was already clear that many conferences would play most or all games just inside their conferences, which did lead to heavy problems for independent schools, like Notre Dame or BYU.
Lucky Notre Dame made a move and did extend their conference tie-ins to the ACC for 2020 only so far on football.
Since 2013 is Notre Dame part of the ACC excluding their high revenue generating football program with their exclusive NBC contract.
That did lead to some tie-ins even in football, scheduling many ACC schools regularly.
It always looked like Notre Dame was able to fill the open schedule spots each season with ACC schools, providing some sort of win-win in terms of recognition and acquisitions.
This season they did go all in, when it became clear their usual schedule including PAC-12-schools like USC, Big-10 schools like Michigan or other schools like Navy, would not work, they became full member of the conference for 2020 and will share revenue from their NBC-contract from their home games.
The conference did for whatever reason also drop the divisional setup of the conference and provided some sort of almost round robin schedule, with each team playing 11 games, 1 game is non-conference.
The best 2 teams will play for the conference title, including Notre Dame.

Big 12
The Big 12 did also announce they will play and will play a conference only schedule with the exception of having 1 non-conference game on each team, which makes 10 games per team.
The rest stays as it is, best 2 teams will play for the championship.

American Athletic Conference
The Conference USA will play as they planned, except that some games were canceled based on the decisions by other conferences.
The conference had lost UConn to FBS Independent and has only 11 members left to play, so they did cancel the divisional structure.
Right now it seems they did fill the gabs in schedule by scheduling other schools.

Conference USA
Also this conference decided to play, except Old Dominion, which did postpone all fall sports, leaving gaps in the schedule of many other conference teams, which were later filled by other non-conference teams, which were also in need for additional matches.
Right now, it looks like the remaining teams will play a full season.

Sun Belt
The Sun Belt lost initially many games against bigger conferences, thanks to their new approaches, but they filled the gaps with matchups against other non-conference teams and right now it seems they will play, more or less a normal season.

As said did Notre Dame move to the ACC for 2020.
Army did have to substitute half of their planned matchups, but will play 12 games now.
BYU has scheduled right now only 8 games, but maybe will add some more, if possible. Right now, it seems they will not.
Liberty will play 10 games, right now.
New Mexico State, UConn and UMass did cancel the season.

The implication of those moves are not fully known so far.
It was announced that the Bowls will accept this season also teams with 2 wins against FCS opponents (usually it is just 1 win).
Whether all bowls will happen ... I did not check the latest status, but I think it is unlikely with so many teams missing.

The National Championship Committee did announce they will not shift their plans or a l t e r them, which basically means they will do as they did always, but half of the teams, including big teams as Ohio State, Oklahoma or USC are left out.
What will happen with the other teams, once they start playing is unknown.
Only it was announced it is not planned to have some sort of fall-champions vs spring-champion game.
So likely, we will have a lot of National Champions this season.

Overall I was never so NOT interested in the season as this season.
This might be because of other things in live, like the pandemic and how to deal with it, but also because of the shattered bunch of schools playing or not playing.

I know there are persons who think the virus is fraud.
I know there are persons who think the virus is much worse than anything.

I think both sides are way off the mark.

The virus is reality and each school has to deal with the implications.
Some decide to play, some not. The motivations are likely wide spread, but for sure it’s more than just students health. It’s also money, reputation, jobs, sometimes the well-being of a whole community.

Regardless, I'm not making any decisions on that, except that I will not cover the season as usually.

I'm not OK, leaving after this post, but I'm also not OK with previewing every week this some sort of half season.

So my plan is to post some article now and then, having some spotlights on issues and games.

I hope you are Ok with that and I hope you stay safe and healthy.

'Til next time

PS: ESPN does not offer a pick'em this season, sorry.

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