Get Ready: Truncated 2020 Season Looks Like A Certainty
With every day that passes, it seems that the 2020 college football season hits yet another significant roadblock.
That was the case yet again yesterday, as the ACC announced plans to play a slate of 10 conference games per team and absorb Notre Dame into their scheduling calculus.
SI's Ross Dellenger later reported that the SEC was also moving toward a conference-only schedule. Should such a scenario come to pass, the Big 12 would be the only remaining Power 5 conference with no plans to adjust their teams' schedules.
But later in the evening, Stadium's Brett McMurphy relayed some news of his own.
Folks, we can hope for a dramatic turn of events, or we can begin to reconcile with what looks like the inevitable outcome at this point: there will not be 12 regular-season games of Sooner football in 2020.
If the SEC elects to go conference-only, Oklahoma loses their Sept. 12 date with Tennessee. If the Big 12 decides to go conference-only, the Sooners might be in a compromised position in terms of their CFP case. After all, the Big 12 doesn't quite carry the same prestige that the SEC or Big Ten does, at least since the dawn of the CFP era.
There's a thousand different angles from which to dissect the logistical gridlock that an abbreviated 2020 season would bring. What happens with player eligibility, or the College Football Playoff formula, or make-up dates and years for nonconference games that were scheduled a decade ago? There's no easy answer to any of those questions.
And none of this even begins to address the challenges of allowing and monitoring attendance at stadiums, or the domino effect that a COVID-19 outbreak within a single program might have on the rest of the country. Amidst a global pandemic perpetrated by a pervasive and seemingly inescapable virus, a new day can bring an entirely new set of circumstances. The outlook 24 hours from now might be completely different than it is at this moment, for better or worse.
Oklahoma hasn't reported a new COVID-19 case within the football program in three weeks. But how quickly could that change if the Sooners play their opener on Aug. 29 and just a single Missouri State player is unknowingly carrying the virus? What if Joe Castiglione and the Oklahoma athletic department can't get all their bases covered in the two weeks between the Missouri State game and the Sooners' tilt with Tennessee? What if the Red River Showdown rolls around, and Spencer Rattler or Kennedy Brooks tests positive for COVID-19 before the game?
At this point, Oklahoma's season - and every college football program's season - is akin to a house of cards. It's not going to take much to bring it all crumbling to the ground, and once it's down, it's going to be a monumental task to restore it. All it takes is one fly in the ointment to wreak utter havoc.
And as hard as it may be to swallow, we can't rule out the possibility of a total cancellation of the season. NCAA president Mark Emmert told ESPN that he's "very concerned" about the plausibility of playing football this fall, and with the NCAA Board of Governors scheduled to meet next Tuesday, a sweeping decision on the fate of the 2020 season may be imminent.
At this point, it's absolutely the case that no news is good news. And in the end, about all we can hope for at this point is football, in some form or fashion.
Because, as Lincoln Riley said all the way back in March, "by September, the world's gonna need football."
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