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  • Hurricane Florence is wreaking havoc on Week 3 and raising questions about what can be done to make schedules more flexible. Plus, why there's no end in sight for Clemson's QB rotation, and the rest of this week's #DearAndy mailbag.
By Andy Staples
September 12, 2018

Hurricane Florence has caused some games to be postponed or canceled, and you have questions…

From @milbarge: Should schools/conferences build in weather contingency plans when they make their schedules? Is there any way to avoid these cancellations and vain attempts to work around mismatched bye weeks?

I’m not sure there is a way to build in contingencies under the current rules, and there certainly isn’t any way to stop hurricanes from hitting, but there could be a way to provide more contingencies—and do something that some coaches and all players would appreciate—if schools were willing to do it. Starting the season one week earlier without changing the number of games would add an extra bye week for each team. That would add potential makeup dates that aren’t Championship Saturday in December, and it also would give players another chance to recover during the season.

I’m not suggesting starting everything a week earlier—just the games. That means teams would only have three weeks to prepare for the season instead of four. Coaches would hate that, but players would love one less week of preseason camp. Then teams would have 14 weeks to play 12 regular-season games. The benefits from a makeup perspective would be obvious. This would increase the chances of schools like, say, West Virginia and NC State—which have postponed their game that was scheduled for Saturday and probably won’t make it up—having a common bye week. That would allow them to make up the game, and it also wouldn’t wipe out their only bye week. This is why teams are loathe to make up games now. If they do that, then this is their bye week and they don’t have one later in the season. If they had two, they might be more willing to swap one out for the hurricane-affected week. If this were the case, maybe two teams that weren’t scheduled to play one another but had games canceled and share a common bye week would be willing to play to bring their regular-season total to 12.

From a viewership standpoint, this would be great because we’d get an extra week of games. The players would probably rather have one less week of camp and one more bye week. Some coaches would be mad, but they’d get over it once they realized everyone was in the same boat. It makes too much sense—which is why it probably will never happen.

College Football
What We Know (and What We Don't) About the 2018 College Football Season After Two Weeks

From @FiftySix2Seven: How long can Clemson continue to play Trevor Lawrence and Kelly Bryant? Could it last all season?

Looking at the rest of Clemson’s schedule, it’s quite possible this could go the remainder of the season if that’s what Tigers coaches choose to do. In Clemson’s 28–26 win at Texas A&M on Saturday, Bryant certainly proved why he should remain the starter. He was poised, efficient, and he kept the chains moving enough for the Tigers to withstand a furious Texas A&M rally led by Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond. But Bryant probably didn’t distance himself from Lawrence enough to keep Lawrence from getting series in upcoming games. Lawrence still allows Clemson to stretch defenses more vertically than Bryant. Plus, the amount Bryant runs makes it prudent to ensure Lawrence has enough seasoning to take over the starting job in case Bryant gets hurt.

With games coming up against Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Wake Forest, Clemson should be able to keep winning while playing both quarterbacks. (Yes, I realize the Tigers lost to Syracuse last year.) Perhaps coaches will want to have one defined QB1 by the time NC State rolls into Clemson on Oct. 20, but that might not be necessary. The Tigers are talented enough everywhere else to keep experimenting at quarterback for the entirety of the regular season if their coaches choose that option. But there remains the possibility that one—and it’s looking as if Bryant would be that one at the moment—might completely outplay the other. Then coaches can define a QB1 and be done with all our silly questions.

From Josh: Can you get the coach that gives syrup shots for pancake blocks on the Badgers’ sidelines? Seems like a match made in heaven.

Wisconsin absolutely needs an analyst whose job is to pour syrup into the mouths of offensive linemen following pancake blocks. The idea comes from Darrian Carmicheal, the offensive line coach at Jonesboro (Ga.) High. If one of Carmicheal’s players pancakes a defender, that player gets a shot of syrup.

Wisconsin and its massive offensive line seem like a natural fit for the college version of this practice. Vermont would have been perfect, but the Catamounts disbanded their intercollegiate football team in 1974. (They do, however, have a club team.)

In this age of turnover backpacks, it’s time for a truly tasty sideline celebration.

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