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2020 Football Look Ahead: Season Status

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Are we still on track to have a football season this fall?

NCAA Football: Idaho Potato Bowl-Ohio vs Nevada Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, we’ve been discussing the upcoming season, looking at Conference Play, Independents, Group of 5, FCS & Power 5 games. I originally supposed my next article would be to look ahead at the bowl season possibilities. Unfortunately, I now want to take a step back and discuss the status of the upcoming football season. Due to recent events in college football, looking at bowl games seems way too far out there in our current environment.

This past Friday, 23 football players tested positive for COVID-19 at Clemson. This news has understandably shaken some in college athletics. Further positive tests at Texas, Kansas State, LSU, Houston, Rutgers & Boise State make this all the more troubling. Mind you, players are just starting to report for voluntary workouts. Practices have not even started yet. Then games will need to be played and teams will be traveling.

As Pete Thamel recently wrote about these outbreaks, some in college football are now expressing pessimism about the upcoming season:

“I’m way less convinced we will play [football] than I was a few weeks ago,” one athletic director told Yahoo Sports

One FBS coach summed up his uneasiness with the risks and complications this way: “I think there will be people who’ll be playing football. I just don’t know for how long or how much.”

“None of us are even practicing right now, and we’re still having to quarantine dudes,” said a third FBS coach. “It’s only the middle of June. Maybe in July we’ll have an answer of what happens during practice. Right now, we don’t have an answer what to do if this happens in fall camp.”

“This is going to be a very bumpy landing,” said a Power Five athletic director. “We haven’t even brought back all our teams. And this is the most controlled setting. There’s no one else on campus.”

This news also comes on the heels of the FCS already deciding to cancel a couple of games for the upcoming fall because of concerns about the coronavirus.

Additionally, disagreements still exist as to how to handle fans attending games. Even if fans are allowed to attend games, it is highly likely that capacity limitations will be in place. The University of Iowa recently halted ticket sales, anticipating possible limitations on attendance.

As Keith Sargeant recently wrote on the possibility of fans attending college football games this fall:

“I think it would be detrimental to the American psyche not to have college football in the fall,” said Sam Zietz, the chief executive of a technology company that advises sports leagues about reopening plans.

Zeitz, who serves on the Orange Bowl committee, has been advocating for limited attendance.

“Schools are looking at what Disney has done in Asia with its reopening at about 30% capacity,” he said. “I would say that’s probably pretty analogous to what (college football teams) could do attendance-wise.‘’

So let’s assume that 30% number ends up being enacted. That would mean that Utah State home games would be able to have a maximum of 7,530 fans in Maverick Stadium (capacity of 25,100). Of course 7,530 fans is better than zero, but an average home attendance of 7,530 for the 2020 season hurts at a time when increased player testing costs and increased cleaning/disinfecting costs will be occurring.

Lastly, Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested a timeline for MLB last week that warned the league not to play too deep into the fall.

“If the question is time, I would try to keep it in the core summer months and end it not with full season this fall or will games be cancelled early?

the way we play the World Series, until the end of October when it’s cold. I would avoid that,” Fauci told the Times. “The likelihood is that, if you stick to the core summer months, you are better off, even though there is no guarantee.

“If you look at the kinds of things that could happen, there’s no guarantee of anything. You would want to do it at a time when there isn’t the overlap between influenza and the possibility of a fall second wave.”

Of course, the college football season is still going strong in late October. Usually, the conference championship games are played in early December. As such, college football looks at playing sports at a time when MLB has been advised to try to avoid.

In summary, a lot of concerns are still out there as we approach another season. I really hope that things work out this fall and things go on as planned. I love college football, and I will be very disappointed if I can’t attend or watch games this fall. Still, my look ahead this week questions what the season will look like in these uncertain times.

So here are this weeks questions for you:

Poll

Will the season still start on time this fall?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Yes
    (38 votes)
  • 44%
    No
    (30 votes)
68 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will we see a full season this fall or will games be canceled early?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Full Season
    (15 votes)
  • 53%
    Partial Season
    (33 votes)
  • 22%
    Canceled Season
    (14 votes)
62 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will we see fans in the stands if football is played?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Yes (50% or more of capacity)
    (9 votes)
  • 62%
    Yes (Restricted to something like the 30% capacity or possibly less)
    (38 votes)
  • 22%
    No
    (14 votes)
61 votes total Vote Now

Poll

This fall, would you attend a college football game in October/November (amidst possible 2nd wave concerns) if games are being played & fans are allowed?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    Yes
    (32 votes)
  • 43%
    No
    (25 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will there be a bowl season around the holidays?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Yes
    (28 votes)
  • 50%
    No
    (29 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now

Also, please leave your thoughts in the comments below about where you think we are in regards to the status of the upcoming season.