10 Things to Ponder About a Power 3 College Football Season

Christopher Walsh

When the Big 12 decided to move forward with the fall season, and not cancel or delay to the spring as the Big Ten and Pac-12 did earlier on Tuesday, the 2020 college football season got a reprieve Tuesday. 

No one knows if it'll last, or if it's even possible to get through a schedule, but the decision was more than just a ray of hope for the sport. 

It also started to really set the framework for how a fall season might be played. 

Currently, 77 of the 130 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision are still aiming go this fall, including those in three of the Power 5 conferences. 

Only one, the Southeastern Conference, seems to be even thinking about going it alone if necessary.

"I remain comfortable with the thorough and deliberate approach that the SEC and our 14 members are taking to support a healthy environment for our student-athletes," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a release Tuesday evening. 

He also said on the Dan Patrick Show: "They're in a much more healthy situation, working out in our facilities with medical care and health protocols around COVID in this new environment compared to lifting weights in a local gym. I think it's really without a doubt."

Let's speculate for a moment that this all works. Alabama is set to open fall camp on Monday, and the season Sept. 26 (against an opponent yet to be announced). 

Here are 10 things to consider about a possible Power 3 season this fall:

1] How do you determine the national champion?

Remember, the College Football Playoff isn't run by the NCAA, but the Power 5, and two of those conferences have decided not to play this fall. Granted, the Big Ten and Pac-12 haven't done all that well in the playoff (except Ohio State), but there's about to be some serious negotiating behind the scenes  along with some serious arm twisting by television — to try and keep the playoff. 

Could you have the one thing the playoff was especially created to prevent, a split national title with a fall and spring champion? One would have to think so.

2] How do you do the Heisman Trophy and other awards?

It'll be up to each award. 

3] If an honor is given out at the end of the fall season, could stats during a spring season count toward next year's honor?

Voters would almost certainly keep it in mind. 

4] Given the coaches loudly claiming that athletes are safer on campus and being around the team, can schools justify having anyone outside of family members in attendance at games? 

That's going to be a tough sell, but look for them to do it anyway. The biggest revenue loss from not playing will be from no ticket sales. 

5] Can players on teams with canceled seasons transfer and be eligible for the fall?

You have to especially feel for someone like Justin Fields, who transferred from Georgia to Ohio State and now has to watch the Bulldogs play this fall. Or Taulia Tagovailoa, who went to Maryland. 

One potential problem on the flip side to that is a lot of schools have full or near-full rosters.  

6] How could the recruiting calendar change?

We're not going to touch that one because there are too many possibilities. However, just image the advantage it would be for coaches to call prospects and say, "Hey, we're playing." 

7] Could teams in conferences not playing participate in the fall as an independent? 

The guess here is no. Yahoo! reported Tuesday night that when Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren was specifically asked if Nebraska could play college football this fall, he firmly said “No. Not and be a member of the Big Ten Conference.”

It might lead to some schools eventually leaving conferences, but that's a subject for another day. 

8] Will the Rose Bowl move to the spring? 

Speaking of the bowls, how will they handle this? There's 41 games still on the schedule, requiring 82 teams. That's more than are still scheduled to play this fall.

9] Could this be the year a non-Power 5 program plays for a national championship?

Let's assume some form of the playoff happens. Yes, the Big Ten, MAC, Mountain West and Pac-12 have all canceled their seasons, along with a handful of schools like Connecticut, Massachusetts and Old Dominion.

But there's still the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, the Sun Belt and independents (not named Notre Dame, which will play in the ACC this year). 

You get a team like Memphis running the table and everyone else beats each other up and maybe it could sneak into the bracket. 

Crazier things have happened this week, never mind this year. 

10] What kind of second-guessing will we see? 

Think the Big Ten would like to reconsider its decision?

What is a Quarterback? 

Sports Illustrated's football preview is out and the cover story is on Lamar Jackson: Quarterback, Redefined. 

It took him less than two years to go from divisive 'dual threat' draft prospect to unanimous league MVP. As Jackson looks toward an encore performance, he’s working to ensure that young quarterbacks like him are put in a position to do the same.

“Lamar is dismantling all of those preconceived ideas about what a quarterback should be. It opens the door for kids like my son to be able to play the game the way that it comes natural to them.”

Check out the story by Jenny Vrentas, as even at places like Alabama the position is dramatically changing. The list of starters since AJ McCarron in 2013 is Blake Sims, Jake Coker, Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa (with Cooper Bateman and Blake Barnett both making one start).  

Did you notice?

• What does it mean for baseball that pitchers have stopped throwing as many fastballs

• Analyzing the NBA bubble’s breakout stars.

• Players pushing to organize was the perfect capper for a wild weekend of college football news.

• What Tom Brady can learn from Joe Montana’s brief time with the Chiefs. 

• MLB is reportedly considering a bubble format for its postseason. 

Christopher Walsh's notes column All Things CW regularly appears on BamaCentral 

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Comments (1)
No. 1-1
Tyler  Martin
Tyler Martin

Editor

Great points, Chris.


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