/Nobody really knows if we’ll play football in 2020, but history might give us a hint

Nobody really knows if we’ll play football in 2020, but history might give us a hint

No, I don’t know if there will be a 2020 college season. I don’t know. John Cohen and Keith Carter aren’t sure, nor is Jeremy McClain. They don’t know right now and they lie if they say they do. The coaches don’t know. The athletic directors don’t know. The conference commissioners don’t know. They have plans, back-up plans, and contingency plans. According to one athletic director, he participated in seven conference calls in a single day. One possibility is for a miracle to occur and the coronavirus epidemic slows down so they can begin on time in September and August. They could also delay the season by a month and continue the regular season until December. Another option is to drop all non-conference games and play a shorter season. This last plan wouldn’t be the first. When the U.S. was fighting not only the Spanish Flu pandemic but also World War I in 1918, Mississippi State and Ole Miss had abbreviated seasons. Southern Miss did not play. State played five games, Ole Miss played four, and Ole Miss and State fought twice for the first time in history. Spanish flu, which was not Spanish, was a factor. It claimed the lives of more than 6,000 Mississippians, and sickened many thousands more. The war ended in November. State defeated Ole Miss in both the “Egg Bowl” matches, first 34-0 at Starkville, then 13-0 at Oxford. The name of the Ole Miss football coach will be familiar to you. Clark Randolph Noble was the Ole Miss head football coach. He would later return to State in 1920 to tell a sports journalist, “I already understand what hell is like.” Noble was once an Ole Miss coach. Noble also owned a lazy bird dog that couldn’t hunt so Noble gave him the name “Mr. Ole Miss. March Madness and all spring sports were affected by the virus, as was college baseball season. All revenue streams are down. The athletic directors are trying to figure how to make ends meet with less money. This is before we even get into football, which generates the most revenue. Do they play to small or large crowds? How does it affect the playoffs and the bowl schedule if they delay the season? Another scenario is to play college football into spring. What would happen? What about double-headers of baseball and football? Will we ever be able to play the games next spring? We don’t know. I think that a delay of a month in the start of football season could be beneficial. It would mean that it would begin in October, when it should have been. Football has turned into a misery in August/September, especially in the Deep South, where the temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees. It’s better to start it later than you think and continue playing through December. Relocate the bowl games. College basketball coaches are now recruiting via FaceTime and over the phone. They give “virtual tours of” their campuses. Baseball coaches are also trying to manage their rosters which will explode in 2021. The NCAA granted 2020 seniors an additional year of eligibility. Major League Baseball is considering limiting its draft to five rounds. This will mean that fewer high school students will be drafted, and more college players will be selected. College juniors and seniors won’t be drafted as many will continue to play college baseball. Next season’s college baseball talent will be at its highest level ever. It will be great fun when it happens. It will happen. It’s all up and down right now. We need people to follow the advice of experts. Stay at home. Keep safe. Keep your fingers crossed for a vaccine. History has shown us that we can overcome this – it was 102 years ago in 1918.