It’s not only the offseason for college football, it’s the Covid-19 offseason. And we don’t even know if there’s going to be a season, which leaves hours of content a day to be filled by hypotheticals and useless prattling. And no one does hypotheticals and prattling like The Paul Finebaum Show, weekdays from 3-7 p.m. syndicated on some local radio station that can be heard from any Waffle House.
Finebaum implied on ESPN Tuesday that it’s possible Alabama and TCU might be discussing playing against each other instead of their scheduled opponents, USC and Cal respectively, if the state of California is still further in the grip of the pandemic.
Though, you wouldn’t know it based on the reaction to the SEC Network analyst’s statement Tuesday on ESPN’s “Get Up” that “there’s already talk going on between Alabama and TCU.”
Alabama is scheduled to play USC in Arlington to open the season, while TCU is set to play at Cal. However, with the college football world on hold - and the California stay-at-home order extended - the potential of non-conference contests being interrupted has been a hot topic.
Since Finebaum’s comment, USC athletics director Mike Bohn said he’s in regular contact with Alabama’s Greg Byrne and USC has “every intention of playing our game against Alabama.”
Meanwhile, Byrne said in a Facebook Live appearance, “I’m not saying fake news or anything like that because I think the media is really got an important job they’re trying to do the very best they can.”
Those aren’t exactly denials from two of the most powerful administrators in college athletics. And it makes sense because if the state of California doesn’t return to campus, it might not be able to compete in athletics. Although the Cal State institutions (San Jose State, Fresno State, San Diego State) appear to be moving toward playing football this fall even if the classes will be virtual only.
The great thing about college football is it gives you 14 Saturdays each fall where everything is wonderful. 14 days that you can plan for weeks or even years in advance. It’s why #NoFallWeddings is a thing across the South and many other places that live and breathe The Best Sport.
The worst part is that the other 38 weeks a year you end up speculating and twisting yourself into knots about your team and the upcoming season. Could this happen? Maybe. But are we 10 steps in front right now? Absolutely. Can we just decide if we’re playing football this fall, or next spring, or at all next season first?
It’s 109 days until any of these games would be played, and right now we just don’t have enough information. But the content machine will keep churning either way.