All Things CW: Did the SEC Just Do Something Really Smart?
It's been a rough couple of days for the Southeastern Conference, which had to ditch its final hopes of not taking huge financial hit this fall, and also took a public-relations hit for supposedly being out-maneuvered by other leagues.
Or was it?
The argument, of course, is that by pulling the trigger first on announcing its intended fall football schedule, the ACC made the SEC look bad. It added Notre Dame into the mix for the season, while making sure the SEC took the blame for some outstanding rivalries and marquee matchups not being played.
There will be no Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, South Carolina-Clemson or Texas-LSU in 2020.
Then there's that the SEC delayed the start of its season, while other conferences did not in order to have more byes and scheduling flexibility.
The Big 12 even let Oklahoma move things up a week. It's set to host Missouri State on Aug. 29.
Big Ten is looking at starting play Sept. 5.
ACC: Sept. 7-12.
Pac-12, the following week, Sept. 19.
The SEC will not begin football until the weekend of Sept. 26.
Granted, the staggered season openers could be a lot of fun for fans, giving college football the same kind of feel as a fight card working its way up to a main event.
But when you look at the big picture the SEC might end up having the best approach.
The SEC has an 11-state footprint that's a mess right now when dealing with the coronavirus. Even though part of the region may be experiencing a plateau in the number of new cases, the spread continues while schools and colleges prepare to reopen.
Per Yahoo, new, comprehensive national guidelines from a network of research, policy and public-health experts convened by Harvard University’s Global Health Institute and Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, recommend that 13 states should lock down immediately, and another 22 should consider it.
Many of those states are home to SEC schools. Florida (with 48.1 new daily cases per 100,000 people) led the list followed by Louisiana (46.2), Mississippi (43.5), Alabama (39.1), Arizona (36.6), Tennessee (34.1), Georgia (33.8), Nevada (33.0), South Carolina (30.1), Texas (27.9), Idaho (27.5) Arkansas (26.4) and Oklahoma (25.6).
This isn't to argue about what those states should do moving forward, but consider all the things that will occur before the SEC finally lines up to play.
The National Football League will have not only started its season on Sept. 10, but played a couple of weeks.
Major League Baseball will have nearly concluded its 60-game season (barring setbacks).
Those are the two major sports that also aren't using a bubble approach.
Not only will school be firmly in session, with Alabama starting the fall semester on Aug. 19, the league will have a month of college football to evaluate and access.
We'll have to see how it plays out, yet considering no one knows if playing college football this fall is even possible that sounds pretty smart regardless of the lost matchups.
The SEC could still play or move everything to its final fallback position in the spring with minimal risk to anyone's well-being. If everything goes completely sour, no one will remember which conference technically canceled which games, either.
What's even smarter is now the SEC can essentially tell the most desirable recruits in every sport that it just proved it cares more about them than the rest of college athletics. Not only will that loudly resonate with prospects, but with their parents.
Using the same big-picture approach, Alabama's additions at the wide receiver positions are even more impressive when viewed as a collective whole.
Alabama isn't done yet at the position either, which means there could be the kind of talent influx that's more common on the offensive line. Everyone can play every position, but is different and best suited for a specific role.
If Nick Saban can get one more top receiver, someone like Brian Thomas Jr. out of Walker, La., freshman quarterback Bryce Young could have more than everything he needs to eventually put up some epic numbers with the Crimson Tide.
Did you notice?
• The reason why Oklahoma wanted to move its opener up a week was to have an extra cushion of time before facing Tennessee on Sept. 12. With that game canceled, the Sooners now have Army on Sept. 26 as its second game.
• Things have gotten a lot more volatile at Michigan, where numerous victims who claim they were molested by a university doctor filed a lawsuit against the school Thursday One, a former football player, said he told both football coach Bo Shembechler and athletic director Don Canham about the abuse at the time in the 1980s. The latest lawsuit lists 53 victims.
• Largely overshadowed by the conference maneuverings Thursday was the NCAA's decision to allow athletes to wear social justice statements this season. This is one of those areas that could quickly divide Crimson Tide fans, especially considering the national political climate. Remember, Saban likes the traditional look of the Alabama uniform and earlier this summer he joined the football team for a Black Lives Matter video, with the script written by tackle Alex Leatherwood.
Did you notice?
• MLB botched Joe Kelly's suspension, but Rob Manfred's mistake extends beyond Wednesday's decision.
• The NBA bubble has become a content bonanza for players.
• Veteran third baseman Josh Donaldson is a perfect fit in Minnesota.
Christopher Walsh's notes column All Things CW regularly appears on BamaCentral