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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.

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.

New CDC recommendation effectively ends any chance of spring practice for college football teams starting back up

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Thanks to the coronavirus, a new reality has slammed headfirst into college football.  Again.

Because of the spread of COVID-19 in this country, Power Five conferences such as the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 had canceled all spring sports, which included spring football.  The other two college Power Fives, the ACC and SEC, had suspended spring football until at least April 15 for the latter and until further notice for the former.  On top of that, the NCAA has halted all face-to-face recruiting, either on-campus or off, until mid-April.

Sunday evening, however, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ratcheted up the stakes as the agency issued a statement in which it recommended that all gatherings of 50 or more people be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks.  Such a timeline would take us through the middle of May.  At the earliest.

Boiling it down, any flicker of hope that spring practice in college football will resume has been extinguished.

Below is the full update from the CDC:

Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.

Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.

Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.

This recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses. This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus. This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.

Coming out of this crisis, whenever it is, certainly begs the question as to what the NCAA will allow college football teams to do to prepare for the start of the 2020 season.  Summer practices on top of workouts ahead of the start of summer camp?  An extended summer camp?

Or, looking at the glass half-empty, will the 2020 college football season even start on time?

Myriad questions but, at this point, no answers.  Of course, college football being played is the least of worries for a growing number of individuals in this country of ours.

Stay safe, all y’all.

Sun Belt releases 2020 football schedule

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The Sun Belt has made the #FunBelt officially official.

Joining a slew of other Group of Five leagues this week, the conference released their full 2020 football schedule on Friday.

It was also confirmed that the Sun Belt Football Championship Game will take place on Championship Saturday, Dec. 5. The contest will be broadcasted on either ESPN or ESPN2.

Among the highlights of the rest of the schedule? There will be seven midweek games on ESPN2 and ESPNU during the upcoming campaign. These are the South’s answer to #MACtion and have, over the years, earned the nickname #FunBelt games.

Of the seven, there are some pretty big matchups too. Appalachian State hosts Louisiana-Lafayette on Wednesday, Oct. 7. A week later the reigning league champ Mountaineers travel to division rival Georgia Southern. Both games will be televised on ESPN2. Arkansas State traveling to ULL on Nov. 5 is another notable midweek game.

In the non-conference portion, Sun Belt teams will also take on programs such as Alabama, Boise State, Memphis, Michigan, SMU, South Carolina and Wisconsin among others.

You can find the full date and matchup of every game involving one of the conference’s teams here. TV selections and game times for the first three weeks have already been announced but games beyond that window will trickle out at a later date.

Spring football games schedule: Complete dates, times, TV options

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College football spring games? Certainly. Ready to watch? Probably (thanks to this spring football games schedule).

With the 2019 season fading into the rearview mirror, our attention has now turned to the 2020 campaign that, for now, seems far out on the horizon.  One of the first big steps in getting to next season, of course, is spring practice.  In most cases, those 15 spring practice sessions will culminate in some semblance of a spring game.

Below is a list of those college football spring games, complete with dates, times (Eastern) and, when appropriate, the television station on which they will be broadcast,

As of the initial posting, not all of the college football spring games and their dates have been released.  Some details, including times, are still to be determined as well.

This post will be updated as necessary throughout the next two months.

(Writer’s note: If any schools or fans of schools notice we’re missing already-available information, please shoot me the particulars at John.Taylor AT nbcuni.com)

March games

MARCH 5
Coastal Carolina, (other details to be determined)

MARCH 7
Air Force, noon

MARCH 19
Arkansas State, 7:00 p.m.

MARCH 21
Appalachian State, (other details to be determined)
San Diego State, 2:00 p.m. (fans not permitted to attend due to coronavirus concerns)
Charlotte, (canceled due to coronavirus concerns)

MARCH 28
Louisville, (other details to be determined)
Western Michigan, 10:00 a.m.
Tulane, 11:00 a.m.
BYU, 1:00 p.m.
TCU, (canceled due to coronavirus concerns)
San Jose State, 5:00 p.m.
Arizona State, 10:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network/Arizona)

April games

APRIL 3
Rice, (other details to be determined)
Buffalo, 3:00 p.m.
FIU, 6:30 p.m.
Georgia Southern, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
Georgia State, 7:30 p.m.
Vanderbilt, 8:00 p.m. (SEC Network+) (Pushed to unspecified later date due to coronavirus concerns)

APRIL 4
New Mexico, (other details to be determined)
Troy, (other details to be determined)
Duke, 10:00 a.m. (ACC Network)
Liberty, noon
Minnesota, noon
North Carolina State, 12:30 p.m. (ACC Network)
Tulsa, 12:30 p.m.
South Carolina, 1:00 p.m. (SEC Network+)
UAB, 1:00 p.m.
Purdue, 2:00 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Temple, (canceled due to coronavirus concerns)
Clemson, 2:30 p.m. (ACC Network)
UCF, 2:30 p.m.
Wake Forest, 3:00 p.m.
Boston College, 6:00 p.m. (ACC Network, tape delay)
Louisiana-Monroe, 7:00 p.m.
Arizona, 8:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network/Arizona)

APRIL 9
Louisiana, (other details to be determined)
UConn, 5:30 p.m.
Utah State, 7:30 p.m.

APRIL 10
Toledo, 1:00 p.m.
Cincinnati, (canceled due to coronavirus concerns)
Texas Tech, 7:00 p.m.
Georgia Tech, 7:30 p.m. (ACC Network)

APRIL 11
Miami, (other details to be determined)
Texas State, (other details to be determined)
Kentucky, noon (SEC Network+)
Ohio State, (canceled due to coronavirus concerns)
UTEP, noon
Mississippi State, 12:30 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Kent State, (canceled due to coronavirus concerns)
Utah, 1:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network/Mountain)
Ohio, 1:25 p.m.
Auburn, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
Missouri, 2:00 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Eastern Michigan, 3:00 p.m.
USC, 3:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network/Los Angeles)
Stanford, 4:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network/Bay Area)
Pitt, 5:00 p.m. (ACC Network)
Boise State, 5:30 p.m.
Cal,  5:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network Bay Area)

APRIL 17
Army, (other details to be determined)
Memphis, (other details to be determined)
Indiana, 7:00 p.m. (canceled due to coronavirus concerns)
Kansas State, 7:00 p.m.

APRIL 18
Ball State, (other details to be determined)
Baylor, (other details to be determined)
Florida Atlantic, (other details to be determined)
Kansas, (other details to be determined)
Louisiana Tech, (other details to be determined)
Oklahoma State, (other details to be determined)
South Alabama, (other details to be determined)
Syracuse, (other details to be determined)
Texas A&M, (other details to be determined)
USF, (other details to be determined)
Wisconsin, (other details to be determined)
Akron, noon
Bowling Green, noon
Michigan, (canceled due to coronavirus concerns)
SMU, noon
Notre Dame, 12:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)
Florida, 1:00 p.m. (SEC Network+)
LSU, 1:00 (ESPN2)
West Virginia, 1:00 p.m.
Miami of Ohio, 1:30 p.m.
Penn State, 1:30 p.m. (FS1)
UTSA, 1:30 p.m.
Alabama, 2:00 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Georgia, 2:00 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Middle Tennessee State, 2:00 p.m.
Nebraska, 2:00 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
UCLA, 2:00 p.m.
North Carolina, 3:00 p.m. (ACC Network)
Old Dominion, 3:00 p.m.
Oregon State, 3:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network/Oregon)
Western Kentucky, 3:00 pm.
Virginia Tech, 3:30 p.m. (ACC Network, 10:00 p.m. tape delay)
Michigan State, 4 p.m.
Tennessee, 4:00 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Florida State, 5:00 p.m. (ACC Network)
Oregon, 5:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network/Oregon)
Oklahoma, 6:00 p.m.
Texas A&M, 7:00 (SEC Network+)
Ole Miss, 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network+)

APRIL 24
Fresno State, 9:00 p.m.

APRIL 25
Hawaii, (other details to be determined)
Nevada, (canceled due to coronavirus concerns)
Texas, (other details to be determined)
UMass, (other details to be determined)
Arkansas, (time to be determined) (SEC Network+)
Maryland, noon (Big Ten Network)
Southern Miss, 1:00 p.m.
Marshall, 2:00 p.m.
Colorado, 3:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network/Mountain)
Washington State, 3:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network/Washington)
Rutgers, 4:00 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Washington, 6:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network/Washington)