Week 7, Statistically Speaking

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A numerical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

-26 — Washington State’s rushing total against Stanford Friday night, the first time the Cardinal has allowed negative rushing yards in a game since Nov. 3, 2012, at Colorado (-21). It was Wazzu’s lowest rushing total since Oct. 10, 2009, at Arizona State (-54).

.676 — Winning percentage of both Urban Meyer (25-12) and Bob Stoops (50-24) in their head-coaching careers vs. Associated Press Top 25 teams, currently the best at the FBS level. Stoops’ wins all came at Oklahoma, while Meyer spread his out over tenures at Utah, Florida and Ohio State. Nick Saban, incidentally, is third in this category at .581 (50-36 during his time at Michigan State, LSU and Alabama).

0 — Times Georgia had shut out a ranked opponent in a true road-game victory prior to its 34-0 whitewashing of No. 23 Missouri in Columbia Saturday afternoon.

4 — Through six games, the combined number of interceptions (zero) and sacks (four) for which the Wyoming defense has been credited.  The Cowboys are the only team in the country without a pick, and their eight turnovers, all fumble recoveries, are tied for 83rd in the nation.

4 — Iowa’s offense and defense officially touched the ball that many times in a span of just under four minutes late in the first quarter against Illinois; the Hawkeyes scored a touchdown on all four of those touches — Jake Rudock 12-yard pass to Jake Duzey; Desmond King 35-yard interception return; Rudock 72-yard pass to Damond Powell; and a Jonathan Parker 60-yard run.

Shaq Thompson, Darius Allensworth
Shaq Thompson, Darius Allensworth

5 — Number of touchdowns Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson has scored this season.  Thompson has returned three fumbles for scores, including a school-record 99-yarder in the win over Cal, along with one interception return and one rushing touchdown.

5 — Number of touchdowns Justin Worley accounted for (three passing, two rushing) in Tennessee’s 45-10 win over Chattanooga.

7 — Number of teams that, through Week 6, had fewer passing yards for the entire season than Washington State’s Connor Halliday had in a single game in Week 6 (FBS-record 734). Those teams were Navy (595), Georgia Tech (663), Boston College (666), Air Force (683), UTEP (702), North Texas (705) and UCF (714). Halliday’s record-setting performance was very near the season total for USF (740), Georgia Southern (748) and Wisconsin (749) as well.  Speaking of Halliday, the senior was held to under 300 yards passing (292) in the loss to Stanford Friday night for the first time this season and the first time since the regular-season finale against Washington (282), a streak of seven straight games.

7 — Including this year, the number of times Kentucky has started a season 5-1 since 1950, with the others being 1950, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1984, 2007.

7.1 — Average yards per touch for Buck Allen in USC’s upset of previously-unbeaten Arizona Saturday night.  The running back carried the ball 26 times for 205 yards (7.9 yards per carry) and totaled four receptions for 28 yards (7.0 yards per catch) for good measure.

9 — Teams remaining that have either won all of its games or lost all of them.  There are still six of the former — Baylor, Florida State, Marshall, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss.  There were 10 entering Week 7, with Arizona, Auburn, Georgia Tech and TCU falling from the ranks of the unbeatens.  The three remaining winless teams are Idaho, Kent State and SMU.  UMass, against Kent State, picked up its first win of the year Saturday.

9 — School record for career 300-yard passing games by Garrett Grayson, who hit that standard with 326 yards in Colorado State’s 31-24 win over Nevada.

10 — Total number of fumbles in the Louisiana-Monroe-Kentucky game (five apiece), although ULM had the only lost fumble of the contest.

11 — Navy players with at least one carry as the Midshipmen ran for 352 yards in a 51-14 rout of VMI.

16 — Consecutive games in which Davis Webb has thrown at least one touchdown pass, a Texas Tech record.

Louisiana Monroe v Kentucky
Louisiana Monroe v Kentucky

22.4 — Average yards per touch for Kentucky’s Stanley “Boom” Williams, coming off a suspension, in UK’s blowout win over Louisiana-Monroe.  Williams totaled 104 yards on seven carries and 75 yards on a kickoff return.

23 — Number of teams that have won 100-plus games since the start of the 2002 season:

Boise State (140); Ohio State and Oklahoma (133); LSU (130); USC (129); Georgia and Texas (122); Virginia Tech (120); Alabama (119); TCU (118); Oregon (117); Florida State (116); Auburn and Wisconsin (114); Florida (113); Virginia (110); West Virginia (109); Utah (107); Nebraska (106); Miami of Florida and Texas Tech (102); Iowa (101); Michigan (100).

25Les Miles‘ wins at LSU coming off a loss, with the win over Florida pushing his Baton Rouge record to 25-1 in such games. The only time LSU has lost back-to-back games under Miles was in 2008 when the Tigers fell to Ole Miss and Arkansas in November.

26 — Current number of SEC West wins vs. non-SEC West teams, with a total of zero losses.

29 — Career sacks for Vic Beasley, surpassing the Clemson record of 28 previously held by Michael Dean Perry (1984-87) and Gaines Adams (2003-06).

Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz

30 — The FCS-record winning streak for North Dakota State, extended with a 38-10 win over No. 13 Southern Illinois.  The Bison’s last loss was 17-14 to Indiana State Oct. 13, 2012.  NDSU is now 49-2 in its last 51 games dating back to the beginning of the 2011 season.

33 — New Mexico State had not allowed a sack in 246 pass attempts this season, including the first four attempts in Saturday’s game against Troy.  In their final 33 attempts in the loss to the Trojans, however, Aggie quarterbacks were sacked four times.

37 — Seven individuals were arrested during and 30 ejected from the third-ever night game at Michigan Stadium. According to mlive.com, 16 ejections were for bringing alcohol into the stadium, 12 for disorderly conduct, one for urinating in public and the other for fraudulent use of ID. Meanwhile, five of the seven arrests were for minors in possession of alcohol, one for resisting and obstructing police, and the other for disorderly conduct

38 — Carries for Nick Chubb in his first career start in the win over Missouri, eight more than Todd Gurley‘s career high for rushes in a game (30 vs. South Carolina, Sept. 7, 2013) in his 29 games played.  Chubb averaged just 3.8 yards per carry, though.

38 — Games in a row Marshall’s Rakeem Cato has thrown a touchdown pass, tying Russell Wilson‘s FBS record.

41 — Days between Washington’s first 2014 road game (Aug. 30 at Hawaii) and its latest trek away from home (Oct. 11, at Cal).  Oklahoma State, meanwhile, played its first road game of the season against Kansas in Lawrence in Week 7.

43.5Maty Mauk‘s quarterback rating in Missouri’s loss to Georgia after completing 9-of-21 passes for 97 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions.  Mauk came into the game with a passer efficiency rating of 138.6, tied for 51st in the country.

45 — In win over Indiana, most points scored by Iowa in a Big Ten game since scoring 45 against the Hoosiers in 2011.

47.3 — Percentage of passes Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight has completed since being propositioned by Katy Perry.

50 — Number of different headgears Lee Corso has donned during his time on ESPN’s College GameDay pregame show.

52 — Alabama’s Amari Cooper is off to the fastest five-game start by any wide receiver in SEC history. His 52 catches heading into this weekend shattered the old mark set by Florida’s Carlos Alvarez, who totaled 43 receptions in 1969.  The Tide receiver was held to just two catches for 22 yards in the narrow win over Arkansas, his lowest reception total since Game 2 in 2013 and his lowest yardage output since Game 2 of the 2012 season.

55 — Length, in yards, of Josh Lambert‘s game-winning field goal with no time left to lift West Virginia to a stunning 37-34 road win over Texas Tech.  That field goal also marked Lambert’s career-long make, and was his second game-winning kick this season.  The Mountaineers, incidentally, trailed the Red Raiders 34-20 before scoring 17 points in the last 5:55 of the fourth quarter.

91 — Length of Aaron Ross‘ first-half kickoff return for a touchdown for Oklahoma, becoming the first Sooner to return a kickoff for a score vs. Texas.

93 — The most combined points ever in a game in Notre Dame Stadium history (built in 1930) in the Irish’s 50-43 win over North Carolina. The previous high under the watchful eye of Touchdown Jesus was 92 on October 8, 2011, a 59-33 Irish win over Air Force.

99 — Touchdowns Alabama’s defense has allowed has allowed since the beginning of the 2009 season, easily the least given up in that span. Next closest? LSU’s 143 and Florida’s 145.

Brett Hundley
Brett Hundley

110 — Times Brett Hundley has been sacked in 33 career games. The UCLA quarterback was sacked 52 times (in 14 games) as a redshirt freshman in 2012, 35 times (in 13 games) in 2013 and 23 times thus far in six games in 2014.

110 — In a 31-13 loss to Bowling Green, that’s the school-record number of plays ran by the Ohio offense.  That’s five short of the FBS record of 115 set by three different teams, most recently BYU last year.  The Bobcats also had 16 penalties for 153 yards.

140 — Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon rushed for at least that many yards for the fifth time in six games this season and the 14th time in the last 21 games, including Saturday’s 175-yard effort in the win over Illinois.

152 — Temple’s Jahad Thomas‘ total number of rushing yards in the 35-24 win over Tulsa, 94 more than his previous career-high of 58 yards set three weeks ago.

171 — Points Cal has scored in its last four games vs. Arizona (45), Colorado (59), Washington State (60) and Washington (7) are the most for the Bears in a 4-game stretch since the 1920 team scored 357 points (88 vs. Mare Island Marines; 127 vs. Saint Mary’s; 79 vs. Nevada; 63 vs. Utah).

174.2 — Rushing yards per game averaged by Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon entering the weekend, a total that topped 65 of the 125 FBS teams, including 29 teams from Power Five conferences. In the bounce-back win over Illinois, the running back totaled, as mentioned above, 175 yards.

202 — Eastern Michigan’s Reginald Bell‘s career-high rushing total in helping EMU to 337 yards as a team in the 37-27 win over Buffalo.

246 — Career-high rushing total for Donnel Pumphrey, on just 20 carries, in San Diego State’s 24-14 win over New Mexico Friday night.

270 — In Central Michigan’s stunning upset of Northern Illinois, Thomas Rawls‘ ground production that played a significant role in the Chips’ ending NIU’s 28-game home and 24-game MAC winning streaks.

351 — Career-best passing yardage for Iowa State’s Sam Richardson in the 37-30 win over Toledo.

362 — Combined yards for wide receiver Josh Harper (187, 12 catches) and running back Marteze Waller (137, 17 carries; 38, four receptions) in Fresno State’s 30-27 overtime loss to UNLV Friday night.

435 — Total number of yards (303 passing, 132 rushing) produced by North Carolina’s Marquise Williams in the loss to Notre Dame.

Fordham v Temple
Fordham v Temple

450 — First-half passing yard for Fordham’s Mike Nebrich in what would turn into a 60-20 win over Penn.  Nebrich finished the game with 566 yards passing and six touchdowns.

753 — Combined number of passing yards for Appalachian State’s Taylor Lamb (397) and Liberty’s Josh Woodrum (356) in the latter’s 55-48 win.

1,267 — Total number of yards for both team’s in Baylor’s wild 61-58 win over TCU, 782 for the former and 485 for the latter.  510 of the Bears’ yards and six of their seven touchdowns came off the arm of quarterback Bryce Petty; both of those were new career-highs.

1956 — Texas’ record after six games in that season was 2-4, matched for the first time since by the 2014 Longhorns in Charlie Strong‘s first season in Austin.

1962 — Last year Ole Miss started a season 6-0. The Rebels finished that year 10-0 and claimed a share of the national championship. Their No. 3 ranking is the program’s highest since being ranked No. 1 in the 1964 preseason poll.

1999 — Last year Marshall started a season 6-0. That year was the first, and only, undefeated season in the Thundering Herd’s history. The Herd’s current seven-game winning streak, incidentally, is the longest among Group of Five schools.

4,427 — Career all-purpose yards for Duke Johnson, surpassing Ottis Anderson (4,265) and Santana Moss (4,394) Saturday for the most career all-purpose yards in Miami Hurricanes history.

110,633 — Largest crowd to ever witness a game of football at any level in the state of Texas, with that record number witnessing Texas A&M’s loss to Ole Miss.  The total also set an SEC record previously held by Tennessee.

For this week’s “The Fifth Quarter: Week 7 Rewind,” click HERE.

Big Ten pulls plug on fall football amid COVID-19 concerns

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The Big Ten won’t play football this fall because of concerns about COVID-19, becoming the first of college sports’ power conferences to yield to the pandemic.

The move announced Tuesday comes six day after the conference that includes historic programs such as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State had released a revised conference-only schedule that it hoped would help it navigate a fall season with potential COVID-19 disruptions.

But it was not a surprise. Speculation has run rampant for several days that the Big Ten was moving toward this decision. On Monday, coaches throughout the conference tried to push back the tide, publicly pleading for more time and threatening to look elsewhere for games this fall.

“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”

The Big Ten touts itself as the oldest college athletic conference in the country, dating back to 1896 when it was called the Western Conference, and its schools have been playing football ever since. It became the Big Ten in 1918 and grew into a football powerhouse.

The 14 Big Ten schools span from Maryland and Rutgers on the East Coast to Iowa and Nebraska out west. Not only has it been one of the most successful conferences on the field but off the field it has become one of the wealthiest.

The Big Ten, with its lucrative television network, distributes about $50 million per year to its members.

Trump, coaches push for college football as cracks emerge

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President Donald Trump joined a U.S. senator and a number of coaches Monday in the push to save the college football season from a pandemic-forced shutdown.

There was speculation that two of the five most powerful conferences — the Big Ten and the Pac-12 — might call off their seasons. Farther east, Old Dominion canceled fall sports and became the first school in the Bowl Subdivison to break from its league in doing so; the rest of Conference USA was going forward with plans to play.

A Big Ten spokesman said no votes had been taken by its presidents and chancellors on fall sports as of Monday afternoon and the powerful Southeastern Conference made clear it was not yet ready to shutter its fall season.

“Best advice I’ve received since COVID-19: ‘Be patient. Take time when making decisions. This is all new & you’ll gain better information each day,’” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey posted on Twitter. ”Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped trying.”

A growing number of athletes have spoken out about saving the season with Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence among the group posting their thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag #WeWantToPla. Trump threw his support behind them Monday.

“The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled,” he tweeted.

Old Dominion has stopped trying. The Virginia school canceled football and other fall sports less than a week after Conference USA set out a plan to play a football season.

“We concluded that the season – including travel and competition – posed too great a risk for our student-athletes,” ODU President Broderick said.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh took a different stand, saying the Wolverines have shown players can be safe after they return to school.

“I’m not advocating for football this fall because of my passion or our players desire to play but because of the facts accumulated over the last eight weeks since our players returned to campus on June 13,” he wrote. “I am advocating on August 10 that this virus can be controlled and handled because of these facts.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, picked up on the safer-with-football theme in a letter to the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten.

“Life is about tradeoffs. There are no guarantees that college football will be completely safe — that’s absolutely true; it’s always true,” he wrote. “But the structure and discipline of football programs is very likely safer than what the lived experience of 18- to 22-year-olds will be if there isn’t a season.”

“Here’s the reality: Many of you think that football is safer than no football, but you also know that you will be blamed if there is football, whereas you can duck any blame if you cancel football,” added Sasse, a former college president. “This is a moment for leadership. These young men need a season. Please don’t cancel college football.”

Players unite in push to save college season, create union

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Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds saw the tweets from Trevor Lawrence and other college football players pushing for the opportunity to play this season despite the pandemic.

Reynolds, one of the organizers behind a players’ rights movement in the Big Ten, didn’t like the way some on social media seemed to be pitting Lawrence’s message against the efforts of #BigTenUnited and #WeAreUnited.

“There was a lot of division,” Reynolds told AP early Monday morning.

Reynolds got on a call with Lawrence and the star quarterback’s Clemson teammate, Darien Rencher, and within a matter of hours the summer of athlete empowerment found another gear.

College football players from across the country united Sunday in an attempt to save their season and ensure they will no longer be left out of the sport’s biggest decisions.

Lawrence, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma State All-America running back Chuba Hubbard, Alabama running back Najee Harris and numerous other players from Florida State to Oregon posted a graphic on social media with #WeWantToPlay and #WeAreUnited.

“We came to the conclusion, We Want to Play, their message might have been conveyed differently but at the end of the day the message wasn’t too far off from what Big Ten United wanted to promote,” Reynolds said. “Which is we all want to play sports this fall. Every athlete, I’m pretty sure, wants to play their sports. They just want to do so safely.”

The #WeAreUnited hashtag was used a week ago by a group of Pac-12 players in announcing a movement they say has the support of hundreds of peers within their conference. They have threatened mass opt-outs by players if concerns about COVID-19 protocols, racial injustice in college sports and economic rights for athletes are not addressed.

#BigTenUnited arrived on the scene a couple days later, a movement that claimed the backing off 1,000 Big Ten football players. Their demands were more targeted, strictly related to health and safety in dealing with COVID-19.

Sunday night, the call with Reynolds, Rencher and Lawrence led to a Zoom meeting — of course — with some of the Pac-12 players involved in “WeAreUnited.”

Washington State defensive lineman Dallas Hobbs got to work on a graphic and now the movement is officially nationwide.

“Just started bouncing ideas off each others’ heads and kind of discussing where we go from here and we ended up coming up with that statement,” said Reynolds, a senior from South Orange, New Jersey.

Under the logos of each Power Five conference — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — the players pronounced their platform:

— We all want to play football this season.

— Establish universal mandated health & safety procedures and protocols to protect college athletes against COVID-19 among all conferences throughout the NCAA.

— Give players the opportunity to opt out and respect their decision.

— Guarantee eligibility whether a player chooses to play the season or not.

— Use our voices to establish open communication and trust between players and officials: Ultimately create a College Football Players Association.

All of this capped a weekend during which the adults who run college sports seemed to be moving toward shutting it all down because of the pandemic.

A day after the Mid-American Conference became the first of the major college football leagues to cancel the fall season, Power Five conference commissioners met Sunday. They discussed mounting concerns about whether a season can be safely conducted with the pandemic still not under control in the United States.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said no decisions on the season have been made, but conceded the outlook has not improved.

“Are we in a better place today than two weeks, ago? No, we’re not,” he said.

Bowlsby cited “growing evidence and the growing pool of data around myocarditis.”

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart and it has been found in some COVID-19 patients. There is concern it could be a long-term complication of contracting the virus even in young, healthy people, a group that has usually avoided severe cardiovascular symptoms.

Also Sunday night, the Big Ten’s university presidents and chancellors held a previously unscheduled meeting, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was not announced by the conference.

Another person with direct knowledge of the meeting, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no votes were taken or decisions made about the college football season.

The final call on whether major college football will played this season rests in the hands of the university presidents who oversee the largest conferences.

With doom and gloom hanging over college football, Lawrence, who has become the face of the sport in a summer of strife, tried to push back the tide with a series of tweets.

“People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play,” Lawrence posted. “Players will all be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely and medical care and expenses will be placed on the families if they were to contract covid19.”

Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth had a similar message, and the parents of Ohio State football players weighed in, too.

Reynolds wants athletes to have a say in the meetings that are deciding the fate of their sports — starting now.

”All college athletes through unifying and not being afraid to speak our minds and having social media to kind of mobilize, I think that box on a Zoom call is something that is pretty attainable,” he said. “Especially, in the near future.”

After MAC surrenders to pandemic, will other leagues follow?

MAC football
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In many ways, the Mid-American Conference has little in common with Power Five leagues that first come to mind when fans think of major college football.

There are no 75,000-seat stadiums in the MAC. Million-dollar per year coaches are rare. In a typical season, NFL scouts might find one or two potential first-round draft picks playing at the 12 MAC schools that dot the Midwest. The MAC’s biggest games — #MACtion, if you will — are often played on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Its television deal with ESPN pays per year only a few million more than the $9 million Clemson pays coach Dabo Swinney.

Still, the MAC is one of 10 conferences that competes in the NCAA’s highest level of football, and Saturday it became the first of those to surrender to the coronavirus pandemic and cancel the fall sports season.

So is the MAC an anomaly, done in by its small budgets or is this a dire sign of things to come in college football?

“I won’t try to judge what other folks are doing,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. “I know we’re all in the same place. They all have their advisers. They’re going to make judgments based on the information they are receiving.”

Not long after the MAC announced it would explore second-semester seasons for all fall sports, including soccer and volleyball, the Big Ten made its own announcement that seemed ominous given the timing.

Tapping the brakes on football’s preseason, the Big Ten told its schools that until further notice full contact practices cannot begin. All teams will remain in the first two days of what is known as the “acclimatization period,” working out in just helmets. The first Big Ten games of the season are scheduled for Sept. 5.

“As we have consistently stated, we will continue to evaluate daily, while relying on our medical experts, to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes,” the Big Ten said in a statement.

The MAC’s schools were facing a significant financial burden by trying to maintain costly COVID-19 protocols, while also dealing with the uncertainty that campuses can be opened safely.

A move to the spring, however, could also be budget-buster if it means less revenue from the ESPN deal, which pays each school about $1 million per year, and football ticket sales. The MAC also shares about $90 million per year in College Football Playoff money with four other conferences.

“It would be naive to say that you don’t give thought and consideration to what the financial ramifications of any decision are, but this was a health and well-being decision first and foremost,” Steinbrecher said. “As we sit here today we don’t know what this will mean financially and how the rest of the fall plays out.”

Steinbrecher said the decision effects only fall sports, not basketball or others that begin in the second semester such as baseball, softball and lacrosse.

He added the decision was unanimous among the membership. Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier, supported by NIU President Lisa Freeman, has been a vocal advocate of delaying the season.

“No one wants to have football or sports more than me,” said Frazier, who played football at Alabama in the late 1980s. “Football gave me all the opportunities I have today, but I can’t do it at the expense of people’s lives.”

Eastern Michigan athletic director Scott Wetherbee said he has been feeling a sense of inevitability for two weeks about the MAC canceling fall football, but can’t predict whether this decision trickles up to other conferences.

“Could it? Certainly. There’s certainly a narrative out there that could happen,” Wetherbee said. “No, it wouldn’t shock me if some followed suit. In fact, it would shock me if some didn’t.”

NCAA chief medical officer Brian Hainline made clear that even though plans for the football season have been adjusted to accommodate potential COVID-19 disruptions like the ones Major League Baseball has had, they are all still aspirational.

“Almost everything would have to be perfectly aligned to continue moving forward,” Hainline said Friday during the NCAA’s weekly video chat on social media.

As the Power Five conferences re-worked their schedules to play exclusively or mostly within their conferences, another of the MAC’s revenue streams dried up.

MAC schools, with athletic budgets in the $30 million range, rely heavily on payouts from road games against power conference teams. Kent State alone had more than $5 million in so-called guarantee games canceled. Whether they can be recouped and when is still to be determined. Without that revenue, the strain became too great of trying to keep players and staff safe during a pandemic.

“Certainly there was a cost attached to it,” Wetherbee said. “But as a league we were prepared to do it.”

The move to try spring football has already been going on in the second tier of Division I.

Nine of 13 conferences that play in the Championship Subdivision, have postponed fall football seasons. The first was the Ivy League in early July.

Now it’s the MAC, which was among the first conferences to limit fan access to its basketball tournament in March as concerns for the virus began to soar across the country. On March 12, the MAC was among many conferences to call off their tournaments hours before the NCAA canceled all of March Madness.

“If you told me in March we’d be here today,” Steinbrecher said, “I’d never have believed it”