Commentary: To Play a Fall College Football Season or Not to Play
You're a University of Washington football fan and you're sorely disappointed.
Mad. Ashamed. Disgusted.
This whole college football pandemic postponement thing, as you see it, has come down to a matter of nerve.
Hasn't that always defined the game?
The SEC, ACC and Big 12 have it — and the Pac-12 and Big Ten don't.
Right or wrong, that's the prevailing message sweeping across the nation right now.
Get on the field.
It's always risky out there.
It's part of the game.
Lou Holtz, the folksy and former NFL and college coach, went so far as to compare the situation to World War II and Normandy.
Where's your courage?
Soldiers, storm the beach.
Get out the body bags.
Win one for the Grim Reaper.
So if even one player dies from pandemic-related reasons, should this be the requisite response:
In 10 days, the Pac-12 and the Big Ten went from makeshift league-only schedules to nothing for 2020. Here's the national Sports Illustrated viewpoint on this cascading sporting landscape from Pat Forde.
Contrary to belief, those leagues didn't do this arbitrarily. Things changed.
They consulted their medical teams, one of which is from the UW and advising everyone else on models and potential death counts, and they didn't like what they saw.
It's not unlike going to the doctor for a follow-up on some ongoing health concern and finding out it didn't heal.
Long-term heart issues are the new issue for a college football world still trying to get a handle on COVID-19.
With this crossroad, it's similar to boarding an airplane that has a dashboard light come on in the flight deck.
Do we ignore it and see if the thing will fly or not?
Chris Spielman is another one of those risk-takers. A former player and now a broadcaster, this is how he approaches life.
His rallying cry: If I want to chance dying, let me.
Others have taken pot shots at the Pac-12 and Big Ten for even considering playing two football seasons in one year.
They — OK, Rece Davis — cite the potential for injury in the spring without a proper training period.
But isn't that hypocritical?
How does that differ much from playing during a pandemic?
Many of those players will tell you they'd rather suit up for a game any time over practicing, especially when it comes to spring ball.
Those who see it as a risk or an NFL obstacle will opt out anyway.
That's what Trey Adams and Hunter Bryant did with the Las Vegas Bowl.
They decided what was best for them.
They weren't needed that day.
Nobody chastised them.
They didn't get drafted either.
Leave it to Joe Burrows, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, to provide a little levity to this great debate in the following tweet.
Here's likely what's going to happen going forward with this college football mess.
One man's opinion.
The other conferences will attempt to play their seasons.
Similar to Spring Break and the Fourth of July, people will mass together and try to resume a normal existence.
Playing or rooting, or both.
And while all that bravado was well and good, physicians and scientists won't determine the outcome in the end.
The virus will.
See Florida for what happened next after summer fun.
This is a pandemic until it's not.
It's not even halftime with COVID-19.
Justin Fields rightly so has put in his time at Ohio State. A lot of people have done it in a hospital bed.
All along, the medical experts have said to expect another wave compounded by the coming flu season.
We haven't eradicated that annual illness outbreak either.
Depending on how you stand on this matter, look for the brave ones, or the foolish, to give it the old college try.
Sometime in October, expect everyone — the SEC, ACC and Big 12 belatedly so — to shut down once and for all.
Go into quarantine if needed.
And wonder if they can restart in 2021.
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