2020-10-22 06:38

We are now close to the full return of college football on FBS level, right on time as is seems to catch the 2nd coming of the covid-19-pandemic.
According to John Hopkins the daily cases in the US are rising again and are right now between 55K and 70K cases a day, which is not the record number they had in mid-July, but close.

How strange this all is shows from my points of view the planned Florida game, a home game, against LSU, of last weekend.
A top level game, no doubt.
The Florida Government had approved a FULL packed stadium, approx. 90K fans.
Then, a few days before the game, several covid-19-cases did happen inside the Florida Gators team, including HC Dan Mullen, and the game was postponed.
So on one hand the government thought it was OK to put 90.000 fans inside a stadium, screaming, shouting, crying, whatever, which does basically produce a lot of aerosols potentially spreading the virus like a worst case scenario and on the other hand the teams hand to skip the game because a few players were tested positive prior the game, based on the rules the SEC did put into place before the season.
I’m OK with the postponed game, but I wonder how the decision regarding the 90.000 fans came together while the numbers are still high on covid cases and especially such sport events were often linked to spikes in positive test cases?
And I wonder why it was OK to cancel a season in summer, but now it’s OK to play the season, even in front of fans, while numbers are getting higher and higher again?
The game is now re-scheduled for 12th of December, the last possible day as far as I know.

We had postponed games in week 6 of UAB - Rice and Florida Atlantic - Southern Mississippi.

And of week 7 had Oklahoma State - Baylor, Cincinnati - Tulsa, the mentioned LSU - Florida, Southern Mississippi - UTEP, Vanderbilt - Missouri and Florida International - Charlotte all postponed.
Alabama had a scare before their Georgia game with HC Saban tested positive, but later tests were negative.

Now the Big 10 is coming in and the Mountain West will also start playing.
Still not playing is the PAC12 and the MAC.

It's right now clear that for week 8 the game Colorado State - New Mexico will not happen this weekend, so the MWC is already affected.
More games might come up for cancelation.

Week 6 recaps:
Georgia Tech did beat Louisville 46-27. A lot of points by the Yellow Jackets with a lot of passing. I was hopeful the Jackets would start clicking under the new management, but the week 7 results, see below, did eliminate that almost 100%.
Ranked Alabama did play a shootout against unranked Ole Miss, but prevailed 63-48. That were a lot of points the Crimson Tide defense had to take.
Ranked Texas A&M did beat higher ranked Florida 41-38. A big win by the Aggies, which did bring them back into contention.
Oklahoma did win the rivalry games against ranked Texas 53-45 after 4 OTs. Tough loss for Texas, but which did shock me the most was the Oklahoma defense allowing so many points. I have big doubts Oklahoma will be a contender.
North Carolina State won against Virginia 38-21. As much as Virginia did look like they would get better and better, this game did not back that up.
Kansas State won against TCU 21-14. KSU is not playing dominant football, but just enough to win and are now leading the BIG12 with Iowa State together. Who would have thought that before the season?
Kentucky won against Mississippi State 24-2. That's a surprising result, since the Bulldogs do have an Air Raid-Coach as HC, so usually those teams do score more. 1st season under that HC, so this might have to grow a bit. Still, Kentucky is no powerhouse.
And LSU lost against Missouri 41-45. The defending Champion do look not ready for the season. It will be interesting to see, whether they come together again at some point, but right now they do look like a mid-field team at best.

Week 7 recaps:
Coastal Carolina won against ranked Louisiana 30-27. Louisiana did earn their ranked with the win against Iowa State at week 1, but now they dropped out of the ranks with this loss.
Ranked BYU won against Houston 43-26. BYU is slowly making a case for their indy season, if they stay unbeaten, the committee will have to make a bold decision, but if enough top teams stay unbeaten, BYU will not get a playoff spot. Their schedule is quite weak.
#1 Clemson did hack and slay Georgia Tech 73-7, which is more like a result you see when an FBS school plays a weak FCS school. But here ... Pfffff. Right now it seems the Tigers are the team to beat, nationally, the rest of the ACC is at least 1 level lower. The season is not over, but I don't see a different contender inside the ACC to challenge the Tigers for the title, including Notre Dame.
#2 Alabama won against #3 Georgia 41-24. That's a quite big margin. Will be interesting to see, whether Georgia rebounds strong and wins the SEC East. Florida do also look beatable, so the SEC East will be fun to watch.
Florida State got their 1st signature win against a ranked team, here North Carolina. They won 31-28. A big win for the Seminoles. Still a long way to go.
Upset of the week is likely South Carolina winning at home against ranked Auburn 30-22. First win by the Gamecocks since 1933! But to be fair, the teams did not play against each other between that last win in 1933 and 1996. They are not in the same division, so they do not play regularly. Still, great game.
Kentucky won against ranked Tennessee 34-7. Right now Tennessee looks not so good, while Kentucky looks at least good enough to cash in some more upsets.
Liberty won against Syracuse 38-21. That's quite surprising, since Liberty is not very long a FBS team, plays as indy team and Syracuse is a power 5 conference team, not too bad. So quite big win here for Liberty.
Memphis won against UCF 50-49. Big win for Memphis after a missed game winning kick by the UCF kicker. Poor guy has to take the blame, while the UCF defense did mess it up for the rest of the game.
Arkansas wins against Ole Miss 33-21. I think this is a big win for the Razorbacks. Arkansas was a long time not really relevant inside the SEC West, maybe this win will push the team and we will see a winning season by the team.
UMass, who returned from covid-break and wanted to play as indy team, with most teams in conferences want to play conference only, did play and lose against Georgia Southern, 0-41. Right now, no additional games are scheduled, but I guess they will try to sneak in as substitution opponent for covid canceled games.

In week 8 there are some great teams facing off, but this is a bit spoiled, since some of the ranked teams did not play a single game so far.

Nebraska play at #5 Ohio State and the game will be quite crucial for both teams. Nebraska is facing still the rebuilding tasks and I'm not sure whether Frost will get a lot of time as bonus. A win against the Buckeyes would be huge. On the other hand is Ohio State in a rush to justify a high ranking fast and dreams of contention. And why not, they have again a good team together.
#23 North Carolina State plays at #14 North Carolina. The Tar Heels did win last year in a big way, before that did the Wolfpack win 3 in a row. This season we might see a game between two evenly matched teams. UNC is heavily favored, but NC State won some crucial games already and with FSU beating UNC last week, NC State might get some inspiration.
#3 Notre Dame plays at Pittsburg, which usually is a hard fought smash mouth football matchup. Notre Dame is favored, but it wouldn't be the 1st loss against Pitt as favorite.
#17 Iowa State play now #6 ranked Oklahoma State. For me the Cowboys are not the 6th strongest team in the country and they did not win against ranked opponents so far. I guess they big teams did lose in the past few weeks, so OSU was one of the last unbeaten teams from the BIG12 and did benefit with a high ranking. Whether the Cyclones can win against them, I don't know, but both do look too high ranked right now.
Utah State play at Boise State. Smurf turf magic is needed and wanted. The Aggies might be in contention mode, at least I thought that before the covid-break. Nice season opener.
#18 Michigan at #21 Minnesota. Minnesota had a great season last year and Michigan is still looking for that extra to reach Ohio State. The line is only 3.5 points in favor of Michigan, so also Vegas is not sure, how the teams will start into their seasons.
#9 Cincinnati travels to #16 SMU. Could be a great matchup. SMU looks like a good contender this season, as does Cincinnati. The home team is slightly favored, but not much.

Major question for me is still how the conferences and teams will handle all the postponed/canceled games, once the backup slots are spend.
Only solution is that they do not reschedule the games, which means that eventually crucial games for a better ranking and division standings do not happen and we see some sort of patch work championship in some conferences.

If I got the news right, the bowls will not have a 6 wins rules for participation, nor a .500 or better rule, so likely the will schedule according marketing and some sort of competition rules.

'Til next time

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