As the nation begins to re-open and seek some sense of normalcy amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, football fans across the country are clamoring for a distraction from it all.
With student athletes returning to campuses across the country for voluntary workouts, and NFL teams opening their facilities to members of their respective rosters, it feels like we are inching closer and closer to football; something that seemed like a pipe dream in the middle of an unprecedented health crisis not too long ago.
While the country is pressing forward to try to get back to normal, it is clear that we are not out of the woods yet when it comes to COVID-19.
Some areas of the country have experienced plenty of good news, with positive cases diminishing and hospitalizations plummeting.
However, in places like California, Texas, Arizona, and Florida, case numbers and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are rising once again, and in some instances, exceeding numbers that were seen during the height of the pandemic in mid-April.
In the NFL, members of the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans reportedly tested positive for the Coronavirus upon returning to team facilities this past week. On the collegiate level, schools such as Alabama and Texas have seen positive cases among members of their football program as athletes returned to campus.
So with so much variability, could football really be in jeopardy this fall?
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has been seen as the face of President Donald Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, voiced his concern about the upcoming football season in a Thursday interview with CNN.
"Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall. If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year," Fauci said.
Fauci has been a vocal supporter of the NBA's detailed return-to-play plan, which houses players in a "bubble" in Disney World. Players must follow detailed guidelines regarding where they are and aren't allowed to go when the season returns and all teams report to Florida.
Could the NFL do the same - requiring all teams to play in one area with players not leaving a bubbled locale? Potentially.
However, it doesn't seem likely that college football could do the same.
Adopting a plan that would benefit the entire FBS would be extremely difficult, especially when considering all of the variables that schools need to take into account with players returning to campus.
If cases spike to the point that states lose control of hospitalizations once again, it would seem that college football could in fact be in serious jeopardy.
Until there is a vaccine, and perhaps more importantly, a proven and consistent treatment for the general public, we will all be assuming risk when going about our day-to-day lives with this illness.
But one thing is for certain - college football this fall will undoubtedly be much, much different - if it is played at all.