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College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on April 3, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Two more Georgia football players arrested; Kirby Smart ‘extremely disappointed,’ says he’s ‘done a poor job with this group’
THE SYNOPSIS: With the arrests of sophomore linebackers Robert Beal and Brenton Cox, it brought to six the number of football Bulldogs arrested in less than a month.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Justin Fuente inks 2-year extension at Virginia Tech
THE SYNOPSIS: The new deal came after Fuente went 10-4 his first season in Blacksburg.  In the three years since, the Hokies have gone a combined 23-16.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Texas supplants ‘Bama as five-star 2017 LB Dylan Moses’ new No. 1
THE SYNOPSIS: Less than a year later, Moses signed with the Crimson Tide.  Coming off a torn ACL, and following a bizarre social media episode, the linebacker confirmed in January that he would be returning for his senior season.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Report: Sarah Thomas, NCAA’s first female official, set to be NFL’s first female official
THE SYNOPSIS: Thomas spent eight years working college football games.  In 2013, Thomas was part of the first bowl officiating crew to feature two women.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Jameis Winston hoping mechanics tweak helps him improve off Heisman season
THE SYNOPSIS: So, how’d that work out?

2013 season, pre-mechanics tweaking: 257-384 (66.9%), 4,057 yards (10.6 YPA), 40 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 184.8 passer efficiency
2014 season, post-mechanics tweaking: 305-467 (65.3%), 3,907 yards(8.4 YPA), 25 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 145.5 passer efficiency

2013

THE HEADLINE: Old Big East’s new name? ‘American Athletic Conference’
THE SYNOPSIS: Yes, on this date, the AAC officially became a thing.  Unfortunately, that meant they didn’t take my suggestion: the Big Metro American Conference — the Big MAC for short.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Update: a neck-braced Petrino meets with media
THE SYNOPSIS: Bobby Petrino made his public comments after the Arkansas head coach was injured in a motorcycle crash.  That wreck ultimately led to Petrino’s dismissal.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Report: Matt James drunk before fatal fall
THE SYNOPSIS: The Notre Dame signee died after falling from a hotel balcony while on spring break.  The report stated he was “drunk and belligerent” prior to the fall.

Anonymous FBS athletic director: ‘If there’s no season, we will be f*****’

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If you didn’t realize how important college football is to an athletic department’s bottom line, this should highlight it.

In the midst of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, some connected to the game of college football are decidedly pessimistic that the upcoming season will be played. Others are expressing cautious optimism. For now, at least.

Brett McMurphy of The Stadium conducted a survey of 130 athletic directors with FBS programs, with 112 of them participating. According to McMurphy, the ADs “were asked to rank their optimism on the upcoming season being played from ‘1’ (will not be played) to ’10’ (definitely will be played).”

Not a single AD gave less than a “5” in response, meaning everyone who responded, at least at this time, feels there’s at least a 50-50 chance the season will go off as planned. A slight majority of respondents (51%) assigned either the numbers seven or eight in McMurphy’s survey. One-quarter of them were decidedly optimistic with either a nine or 10 as a response. Most of that optimism was on the part of Group of Five programs that, already financially reeling from the distilled NCAA’s revenue distribution last month, desperately need a college football season to be played.

If the college football season is to start on time — the first games are scheduled for Aug. 29 — what would be the absolute latest teams could start reconvening and prepping for the 2020 campaign? The answer you get depends on the individual you ask. Some would say early June at the absolute latest. Others have said the middle of July.

So, what if the season is canceled? Completely?

“If there’s no season, we will be f*****,” an anonymous AD told McMurphy.

A tweet from Ross Dellenger of SI.com very plainly illustrates how reliant athletic departments are on revenue from college football.

Suffice to say, if the 2020 college football season is completely wiped out, non-revenue sports will be cut. Lots of them will be shuttered, more than likely.

The good news, such as it is, is that the powers-that-be in the sport will go to great lengths to save the 2020 college football season. In fact, one report earlier today suggested that the season could start as late as January of next year. How that would work with players who are eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft would have to be worked out, as would myriad other issues.

While it’s way too early to form a concrete opinion, there’s little doubt that all connected to the sport will exhaust every option to save the 2020 college football season. And, if the season is canceled? It’ll mean we all have a helluva lot more to worry about than sports.

Unlike Kirk Herbstreit, Rece Davis ‘hopeful and optimistic’ 2020 college football season will be played

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While the start of the college football season remains nearly five months away, there is burgeoning fear that the coronavirus pandemic could cost the 2020 campaign to be canceled.

North Carolina head coach Mack Brown expressed concern about whether or not the college football season would be played as scheduled.  ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit (pictured, right) was even more to the point in his assessment.

I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens,” the former Ohio State quarterback stated in a radio interview last Thursday night.

Monday, one of Herbstreit’s College GameDay colleagues, Rece Davis (pictured, left), did his own radio interview.  In it, Davis was asked about Herbstreit’s dire forecast for the college football season.  Suffice to say, the GameDay ringmaster struck a decidedly more optimistic tone.

From 247Sports.com‘s transcription of the interview:

I’m far more optimistic and more hopeful than Kirk’s quote there at this point. I just think that’s a little bit premature at this juncture while offering the caveat that there is so much unknown out there. Kirk’s right based on everything I’ve read in terms of medical experts, in terms of the facts. I’m hopeful and optimistic that with so many people working on this that we’re going to have some kind of treatment, some type of break over the next several weeks that will make it far more feasible to have football. At this point, I’m far more optimistic. Might there be adjustments to the schedule? Might things change a little bit in terms of how the business is conducted? Sure.

All I’m saying is that I think we’re a little premature. Because all you have to do is look back at the recent stats and look at the number of people in New York City, which has been decimated, and six weeks ago we’re encouraging people to go to festivals. Now that seems foolish. What I’m saying is on the other side of that, it’s not just hopeful optimism and belief in the power of people to figure things out. It’s saying, let’s wait and see. We have some time. We have the best minds in the world working on (a cure). It’s not just a vaccine, it’s treatment options, how will the virus react at different times of the year, things that we don’t know.

The 2020 college football season is set to kick off on Saturday, Aug. 29.  The so-called “Week 0” slate of games features seven matchups involving at least one FBS school:

  • Notre Dame vs. Navy (in Dublin)
  • Cal at UNLV
  • Hawaii at Arizona
  • Marshall at East Carolina
  • New Mexico State at UCLA
  • Idaho State at New Mexico
  • UC-Davis at Nevada

Kirk Herbstreit would be ‘shocked’ if college football is played this fall

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No college football this fall?  The drumbeat for such a possibility grows louder by the day.

In the midst of the growing coronavirus pandemic, Mack Brown earlier this week expressed concern about whether or not the college football season would be played as scheduled.  Whether it would be a partial season.  Or no season at all.

“There is a fear of ‘would we have a season?’ ‘Would we have a partial season?’ ‘What does a partial season mean,’” North Carolina head coach said. “There is a great concern because of the remedy that comes in with football.

“The biggest problem is you’re not sure when it ends, and we can’t get those answers at this point.”

Compared to one prominent college football personality, Brown is downright optimistic.

During a radio interview Thursday night, Kirk Herbstreit was asked about the prospects of teams taking the fall this season.  According to the ESPN television personality, he would be “shocked” if it happened.

“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens,” Herbstreit stated, by way of TMZ.com.

“Just because from what I understand, people that I listen to, you’re 12 to 18 months from a [coronavirus] vaccine. I don’t know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don’t know how you can do it with the optics of it.”

Because of the cancellation of March Madness, schools saw their revenue distribution from the NCAA drastically diminished.  That is expected to take a heavy toll on non-FBS schools.  If the college football season were to be canceled?  That would severely impact FBS schools, especially those in the Group of Five.

With XFL canceling season, football eyes look to Week 0 for hope (including Notre Dame vs Navy in Ireland)

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The XFL officially shut down its 2020 football season on Friday. The decision was to be expected given the current state of the sports world in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. College football certainly has not been immune to the impact the coronavirus has had on the sports world, with conferences shutting everything down for spring sports and spring football practices and games this year. Now, college football will offer the next batch of games that will really count in 2020, barring any other unforeseen delays.

As things stand now, there are currently seven games involving FBS teams scheduled to play in college football’s Week 0 (Saturday, August 29). Arizona is scheduled to host Hawaii, UCLA will host New Mexico State, East Carolina will host Marshall, Nevada is scheduled to host UC Davis, and New Mexico is slated to host Idaho State.

UNLV is tentatively scheduled to host California, although the current state of the brand new football stadium being constructed in LAs Vegas could be in question with the coronavirus outbreak interfering with so many facets of our lives, including construction projects.

Perhaps the most notable Week 0 game will be played abroad, so long as it is deemed safe to do so by the time that game comes along. Notre Dame and Navy are scheduled to square off in Dublin, Ireland for a 2:00 p.m. ET kickoff. As long as we are back to a relatively normal way of life by the end of August, that should be a fun age to help kick off the new college football season. Hopefully, travel restrictions and extra precautions in the post-coronavirus world will not get in the way of the experience for Notre Dame, Navy, and their fans planning on attending. Of course, safety always comes first. As of now, there is no indication this game will be altered in any way, and the hope is to keep it that way.

Once we do get college football back in the mix, it will be a comforting sign that things are getting back to normal, and we’ll all need that. Until then, wash those hands and keep your distance.