On Sunday evening, while recording the latest episode of the Big Orange Podcast, I was fully prepared for the 2020 college football season to be canceled on Monday.
When it comes to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, once one decision is made, it’s usually not long before the dominoes start falling.
I figured that would be the case once it became apparent that the Big 10 was on the verge of canceling their season (which hasn’t technically happened yet).
Just got a text from a Big Ten spokesman. “No vote has been held by our presidents and chancellors.” Hence, the Big Ten watch continues.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) August 10, 2020
The SEC, however, is refusing to follow the Big 10’s lead. Instead, they’re staying on their current path — which is to say they hope to play a 10 game conference slate that’s scheduled to start in late September.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey admitted on Monday that he has no clue if the 2020 season will actually happen. But the conference is committed to continuing to try to make the season happen.
…Deveoped testing protocols…We know concerns remain. We have never had a FB season in a COVID-19 environment. Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped trying. We support, educate and care for student-athletes every day, and will continue to do so…every day.
— Greg Sankey (@GregSankey) August 10, 2020
This is the right approach. Nothing new has happened since the SEC revealed its new schedule on Friday. Nothing’s changed. So why cancel the season now after plans have been made to proceed with a modified 10-game conference schedule?
Getting past Monday without the season being canceled is a small victory for college football fans. But it’s not time for fans to do a victory lap. Because Sankey is right, no one knows if the SEC can actually play this season.
And we won’t know until we approach the end of August and fall camps begin. At that point, when teams are in their “normal” routine (as normal as it can be right now), we’ll have a better idea of whether or not this season will be possible. Until we get to that point, it’s not fair for anyone to suggest what will or won’t happen this season.
That’s when the real test begins, anyway. We’ve seen with MLB that outbreaks can halt a season in an instant (just ask the Miami Marlins or the St Louis Cardinals).
The 2020 season is never going to be a sure thing for the SEC or any conference. It’s going to be a week-by-week thing. We might see several weeks of games happen, only to see the season come to a sudden stop in late October. No one has any clue how any of this will play out.
But letting it play out is the key. And that’s where the SEC is getting it right. They’re listening to the players and coaches who are begging to play. And they’re going to give it their best shot.
Whether or not that happens is anyone’s guess, but it looks like, for now least, that we’ll at least see a legitimate attempt at having SEC football this fall.
Featured image via Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports