By Micah Neese
We knew decisions couldn’t be held out forever and postponement can only take you so far before cancellation. After stealing months of sports news from us, Corona has made the prospects of the start of a college football season much more exciting. The boards of every power 5 conference have met and made public decisions. The SEC, ACC (and Notre Dame), and Big 12 will all look to play an in-conference, 10 game season while the Big 10 and the Pac 12 watch on TV in hopes of playing in the spring. At least for now those are the decisions that have been released, but everything is subject to change during these times. Hopefully a four team playoff can be played at the end of the season by these 3 conferences.
It seems as though, despite all odds, players, coaches, fans, governors, and the president of the United States want football to happen and many doctors believe it can be done safely. During the past few weeks the three conferences going through with football have actually been applauded for pushing through while the Big 10 suffered a huge backlash from coaches, players, parents, and fans for being the only conference with championship contending teams to cancel. Ohio State and Nebraska tried to go independent to keep their fall season alive, but were told that unless they were willing to forever give up their Big 10 status they could not go independent. Ohio State quarterback and Heisman finalist, Justin Fields started a petition to change the Big 10’s ruling that has already garnered 250,000 signatures, the majority coming from Big 10 players and fans. Recent reports have stated that it is unsure whether the Big 10 has voted yet. If it really was an overruling decision from commissioner Kevin Warren, look for the Big 10 to at least revisit and vote on it’s decision, especially after the backlash from the conference. LSU was cheated out of a championship game with Ohio State last year. Even though Ohio State transfer, Joe Burrow, is gone, I would love to play Ohio State in the postseason just to leave no doubt in the Buckeyes mind about what would’ve happened last year if they had held out to beat Clemson.
A ten game, conference-only schedule in the SEC is no easy slate. With no tune-ups, rests, or givens, only the fittest will survive. It will be a season like no other and if you’re in the SEC West, take it for what it is; the most challenging season imaginable. Like in the NFL, where there are less teams and a more level playing field, losses will happen, but not eliminate you from postseason contention. For the fans it will be the one of the most exciting regular seasons in college football history.
LSU has a relatively easier schedule. Our extra two SEC East matchups are Vanderbilt (again) and South Carolina. It’s still a long winding road, but compare that to Arkansas who drew Georgia and Florida for their extra two SEC East opponents. For any SEC team, this season will be fast-paced and preparedness and mental sharpness will be essential. Last year is a perfect indicator that our coaching staff has developed a program that can withstand anything.
Some of these changes are a long time coming and might be here to stay, even after COVID.