Despite having neither the budget nor inclination to test students on an almost-daily basis, or the capacity to quarantine students from the rest of the student body, athletic directors in six conferences and three independent schools are pushing forward with FBS college football this season.
The ACC, Big 12, and SEC intend to play either conference-only schedules or with one additional game outside the league. Notre Dame joins the ACC for this season only, and BYU and Liberty will be praying the virus doesn’t strike. Non-power leagues The American, Conference USA, and the Sun Belt will join them. The Big Ten, Pac-12, MAC, and Mountain West will sit at home until at least the spring.
And whether this is a good idea or not, the new saliva testing developed by the Yale, the NBA, and the NBA Players Association will give cover to plenty of athletic directors that want to play this season. And you can be sure every coach and quant in the SEC is looking for labs in their area that can turn these new tests around in just hours.
Nobody is rooting against The Best Sport returning. We all want to see the kids do what they love, and the most passionate fans in America having something to cheer for as we navigate Covid-19 would be terrific. But even with schedules released and players practicing, there’s still a long way from here to there before we actually kick off a game.
So this is really going to happen?
For now, yes. Despite the University of North Carolina looking like a sci-fi film, and plenty of other college towns just not respecting social distance, six conferences still think they can play football this year.
The SEC released a complete schedule yesterday, kicking off on September 26th and ending with a title game on December 19th. They will play no out-of-conference games.
The Big XII did the same a few days ago, and they’ll be starting with a non-conference game before kicking off a nine-game league play slate on September 26th.
The ACC is playing 10 conference games plus one non-conference, and will hold their title game on either December 12th or 19th.
The American is playing their usual eight conference games, and allowing teams to play as many as four non-conference as well if they can find opponents.
The Sun Belt hasn’t released a schedule yet, but is also allowing an 8 conference + 4 non-conference model as soon as Week 0 (that’s August 29th for those of you that can’t believe it either at home).
C-USA is in the same boat as the Sun Belt, but hasn’t released a schedule yet either.
Great! Can I bet on this?
Of course! Right now there’s only two individual games on the board at DraftKings Sportsbook:
October 10th: The Red River Shootout
Oklahoma -2.5 vs. Texas
November 7th: The best non-conference game that’s now a conference game
Clemson -7.5 vs. Notre Dame
But the three Power Five leagues all have futures markets for an eventual champion. More on those later this week.
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