Barring any further developments, the 2020 college football season is scheduled to begin in 19 days with a Sunbelt Conference game between South Alabama and Southern Mississippi on Thursday, Sept. 3.
Other games that weekend include SMU-Tennessee State, Middle Tennessee at Army on Sept. 5 and BYU at Navy on Labor Day Night, Sept. 7.
Let's be optimistic and says that does happen.
Let's be even more optimistic and project that the Power 5 conferences still playing--Big 12, Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference all complete their schedules as do the Group of 5 leagues, American Athletic Conference, Conference USA and SunBelt Conference.
Six leagues, six conference champions.
In previous seasons, the Group of 5 champions would vie for one New Year's Six bowl slot, while the Power 5 conferences would fill the other 11 slots.
This year is different. COVID-19 changed that.
There are still no guarantees there will be any college football played this season.
But if there is, and without the Pac-12 and Big Ten playing, this season could be a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Group of 5 conference champs as well as way to save at least a portion of the bowl system.
The plan was run past four high ranking bowl and college officials and was given an overwhelming, "Yes, it could work and yes it would work'' endorsement.
Let's start with the basics.
Six New Year's Day Bowls
Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Orange, Fiesta, and Peach.
This season, the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl are designated Final Four semifinal games scheduled to be played on January 1.
The Peach Bowl is also scheduled to be played on January 1 between two at-large teams.
The Orange Bowl is scheduled to be played on January 2 between an ACC team vs a Big Ten or SEC team, which would be an SEC team this year because the Big Ten has shut down football for the fall.
And the Fiesta Bowl is selected to be played on January 2 between two at-large teams.
The Cotton Bowl is scheduled to be played on Dec. 30 between two at-large teams.
Six Bowls, 12 slots available for six conference champions and six at large berths.
Without the Pac-12 and Big 10 there are more than enough spots open for EVERY conference champion as well as 6 at large slots for conference runners up.
Let's take some pre-season projections and see what the 2020 bowl system would look like.
Clemson (ACC) vs. Georgia (SEC 2)
Oklahoma (Big 12 1) vs. Alabama (SEC 1)
Notre Dame (ACC 2) vs. Florida (SEC 3)
LSU (SEC 4) vs. UAB (Conference USA 1)
Appalachian State (Sun Belt 1) vs. Texas Big 12 (2)
UCF (AAC-1) vs. Oklahoma State (Big 12 3)
Each New Year's Bowl would have a Power 5 anchor team, each conference would be represented and each Power 5 league would have at least 3 teams in New Year's Six bowl games.
“I don’t see any reasons "I don't see any reasons why that WOULDN"T work,'' said a high ranking college administrator.
There is a general consensus of opinion that if college football could play games this season, the majority of the 40 bowl games would not be played, leaving only the CFB playoff bowls and the New Year's Six bowls.
A quiet weekend was expected regarding news in the Power 5 conferences as test results started to come in and now that other students are coming back on campus. That could change in an instant if the conference presidents decided to make a decision...As the regular season start approached, more of a sense of optimism on actually having games played began to spread....Cost and speed of COVID-19 testing continues to be a major issue among schools.