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Moller: The fate of college football revisited

| Wednesday, August 19, 2020

In April, I made some predictions about what the 2020 college football season might look like in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Obviously I had to make a lot of wild predictions when I wrote that piece, but now with September only a couple of weeks away, there is still a lot of confusion about what will happen this season.

A couple of weeks ago it appeared everything was going to work out. Almost every conference decided to play conference-only schedules, and I was optimistic about the 2020 season. As the pandemic continued to worsen again, however, the future of college football began to be more unclear once again.

The ship began to sink rapidly when the Mid American Conference (MAC) decided to cancel its season a week and a half ago. After that, the sports world was shocked when the Big Ten and Pac-12 decided to cancel their football seasons with hopes of playing in the spring.

When I heard the news, I was devastated. With two major conferences not playing, there is no way the 2020 season can be the same, even if some conferences such as the ACC, Big 12, and SEC decide to go ahead with football in the fall. I don’t care if a team blows out everyone on their way to a national championship, if there are some major college programs that don’t get a chance at the title, the champion can not be valid.

So what are the next steps that college football can take? Once again, I will list out some options.

The first option is to have no football in the fall or the spring. Sadly, I think it is very likely to happen. The precedent set by the Big Ten and Pac-12 can not be ignored, and it will be very difficult to play a legitimate season without those teams. One could argue that the national title has not come from one of those conferences since Ohio State won in 2014, but I don’t really believe that mentality. I think most people in their right mind would admit that Ohio State had a very real shot at lifting the trophy at the end of the year this year.

The second option is to have just the ACC, SEC and Big 12 play their conference schedules as planned. Is this possible? Sure, I guess. It’s just crazy to me, though, that a season could happen without college football blue blood programs like Ohio State, Michigan and USC. In this scenario, the winner better have a serious asterisk next to their name. This option is also very likely dependent on the pandemic not getting any worse, which at the moment doesn’t look promising. In this scenario, I would guess students might be allowed into the game because they are living on campus together anyways, but at this point I don’t think anyone knows for sure what will happen.

Another option is a spring season, which sounds pretty ridiculous to me. First of all, that season would likely have to begin in February, which would be very difficult for teams up North. Also, there would be a huge problem with NFL bound players sitting out the year in order to prepare for the combine and draft. The Big Ten claims to be considering this option though, so it is definitely a possibility.

In sum, I don’t think anyone quite knows what the 2020 college football season will bring, or if there will even be one. At the moment, I’m going to guess that it’s probably very unlikely there is a season at all, but as we have all seen during this COVID-19 pandemic, nobody really knows what to expect. Keep praying for college football this year, because we sure need it.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Nate Moller

Nate is a junior majoring in chemical engineering. He is originally from a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota and is currently living in Siegfried Hall. Some of his passions include running, cross country skiing, and getting too worked up about Notre Dame and Minnesota sports teams.

Contact Nate