A JERSEY GUY: Will CFB Please Give It Up

Mark Blaudschun

There are stories every day now, sometimes every hour, which is ironic when you consider the three month blackout that has just taken place.

College football is trying to restart the engines for a run this fall.

Players are returning to campus, protocols for dealing with football AND COVID 19 at the same time are in place on every campus, in every conference office.

"What do we do if...''is the question of the day, every day.

The headline news of the week began with the Ivy League (and some other lower tier football entities} shutting down ALL fall sports.

That started the expected domino effect. The Power 5 conferences, still weeks, if not months, away from giving up the ghost, and looking for more time to make a decision, peeled away their non-conference schedules.

The Big Ten started it and the Pac-12 followed with the Big 12, ACC and SEC asking for more time to make that decision.

Now big games--Wisconsin-Notre Dame, USC-Notre Dame, Ohio State-Oregon are off the books.

All of this leads to the bigger question, which should have a unanimous answer, but is facing resistance at many levels.

WHY IS THERE EVEN THE PRETENSE OF PLAYING COLLEGE FOOTBALL THIS FALL?.

No one is happy or looking forward to the season, which would be a mind-set you could find all over the country at every level in mid-July.

I did my own survey, asking commissioners, athletic directors, coaches and other college football administrators to tell me one thing they were happy about in college football.

Of the nearly one dozen people I talked to, NO ONE had any happy college football news to offer.

"Let's say you actually get to play a game,'' said one FBS coach. ""Where are the players going to take their showers. How are you going to talk to them before the game or at halftime, especially on the road, where the facilities for visiting teams are almost never good.""

"In my LIFETIME, I have never seen anything like that in having to deal with the simplest of things,'' said one veteran administrator who has spent more than 40 years in the business. "We live in a country where we can send people to the moon, space ships to Mars and we can't cure a simple bug.''

If everyone in college football were forced to take a dose of truth serum, I don't think anyone would argue about playing this fall. 

College football is not professional football, there are no financial rewards for taking chances for the players, most of whom play for the love of the game.

The money issue--billions of dollars -- is what is forcing good people to make bad decisions, which could have tragic ramifications.

There is no need to play college football this fall. Take the pressure off, give modern medicine 6 months to find cure, try and make it work in some form next spring and then pick it up again next fall.

Again there is almost NO reward for playing this fall. The college experience which will probably include empty or sequestered campuses and little or no fans in the stands can not be very much fun.

Tailgate parties?  Post game parties? Forgetaboutit. 

Play the game, get sequestered and do it over again.

If coaches want to maintain a link with their players and the game, why not declare a redshirt season for the entire team this fall and instead of practicing, hold class, virtual of course, two or three times a week on the techniques of the game. 

Let the athletes be STUDENTS first in the world of college football which might help them in the future.

How this unfolds over the next several weeks remains a mystery, because there is no one who knows what is going to happen next.

I suspect the other Power 5 conferences will compromise by announcing that only conference games will be played.

The smaller conferences, where money is NOT as great, will decide the risk is not worth the reward.

Then the Power conferences will run into other pot holes.

Good luck getting any Pac-12 teams to take a trip this season to play either Arizona or Arizona State, unless the COVID-19 situation in Arizona has peaked.

The same could be said for SEC schools with games in Florida or Texas.

Even if games are played they will not seem genuine. Fake crowd noises, misleading camera shots are not part of the fabric of the game.

I love college football, it is my favorite game to watch and cover.

But not this game, not this year.

Turn out the lights, the party needs to be over.

Now.

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Mark Blaudschun

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