With the Power Five set to kick, we wonder what kind of college football season we’ll have in 2020


Might as well call it an asterisk season. Whatever we enter in the first week of Power Five football will have some kind of qualifier attached to it.

Whatever happens, but it plays out, this season will not be the status quo. We live in a world where heart disease (myocarditis) has created anyone who has taken an aspirin to a medical specialist.

In 2020 college football is at a crossroads of joy and giddiness. Delight because – as long as it lasts – the season is finally here. Because at any moment – stopping the game … stopping the game can be bad.

We are not going to go into this late date this season to see what eligibility means. Football Bowl Association Executive Director Nick Carperelli suggested after a recent meeting with the NCAA that the term may be temporarily obsolete.

Why won’t it happen? CBS Sports bowl specialist Jerry Palm currently has four winning teams in bowl games if all slots are filled. Never mind whoever will look like a college football playoff.

“Whoever wins this year is going to be the greatest champion of all time,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said sarcastically.

What is today’s breaking news can be useless in a week. Or one day. It is revealed that Pac-12 has been in a partnership with Quid for a long time on rapid COVID-19 testing. This would at least make it safe to be a Pac-12 athlete and could hasten an earlier return to football. But where was the Big Ten on such a partnership?

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bolsby called Wadding “a somewhat bleak future for all of us” over the season.

There will be one “right” and one “wrong” … maybe … someday. not now. It’s too early.

We have to honor the decisions of the 54 FBS programs that have opted out of the fall season. It is too early to claim the Big Ten and Pac-12, postponement (Aug. 11). Nobody really knows.

Same for ACC, Big 12 and SEC. They are playing in the fall, but not on time and perhaps not at the end if they determine health conditions.

“Ultimately, the virus is going to be fixed,” said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hanline.

This is another way of saying, “calm down.” Come hope This is a season blip on the radar. Anything else can be disastrous.

Financially, it was already going to be a slogan. The NCAA is advancing every one of its employees (except management). Alabama is reducing its budget by 22%. Programs across the nation asked coaches to make temporary salary reductions. With cuts and furloughs, the Pac-12 has basically rendered its multi-derivative network useless.

For the first time this year, a college football Saturday with the ACC and Big 12 will look something recognizable.

“This is our game. This is our time,” Kansas coach Les Miles said.

Asterisk season continues, though ultimately it depends who is speaking.

Will there be parity?

With such a fragmented season, the most obvious football question is whether any team (or two) will break the cement ceiling of the College Football Playoff.

It is this hurdle that has kept all 11 teams from playing for the national championship in the six-year history of the CFP. Primarily, three of those 11 teams – accounting for seven of the 24 combined spots – are from the SEC.

Alabama has played in five of its six CFPs last season, missing in the end. After missing out on Year 1, Clemson played five of the final six, winning two.

Is parity dead? We won’t know for sure until later, but COVID-19 has made that question possible.

The SEC is playing an unprecedented 10 conference games, and will further increase its schedule strength. Will it drive SEC claimants or cannibalize them? What does an 8-3 SEC champion mean, if Cincinnati goes 11-0? We can be the ones to find out.

The protocol of the CFP selection committee has to be changed. Whether they tell us or not is another issue.

This insidious coronovirus prescribes the old practice of game-by-game play. Do this at your own risk these days.

A 6–0 team can make it to the playoffs. There cannot be a 9-2 team. Until the CFP tells us that it is not possible, well, it is.

Social Justice and Player Empowerment

Last Saturday Stephen F. Austin players knelt and clenched their fists before kickoff during their game with UTEP. First sideline image When his game hit the air, the Eastern Kentucky coaching staff wore a “Say His Names” shirt on the sideline.

Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been a leader in the field. On Sunday, he tweeted that on Sports Day, players “will use our platform to raise awareness,” wearing shirts, showing statements at helmets and playing videos to salute those effects by social injustice.

All of this is going to be a permanent, if not permanent, part of college football. Player empowerment is here to stay.

“What the future looks like, I think you’re watching it,” said Texas coach Tom Herman. “I am happy for my players to finally realize what they have in mind and what they have in their heart, the freedom to speak.”

Will there be two semester football?

This is a completely new season with 76 teams playing and 54 others planning to let it go in Spring 2021 at least.

With most leagues playing on their own, it will be harder than ever to compare records. The arguments will be sharper. Wouldn’t it be wonderful as long as we could play football?

As it stands, we can say with some confidence that the national champion will come from the ACC, Big 12 or SEC. That is, the fall champion will be the CFP champion. The Heisman Trophy is yet to make up its mind. This is what only a Heiman top five looks like.

  1. Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State: Only one other Cowboy has run for more yards than Hubbard’s 2,094 last season. That would be Barry Sanders.
  2. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson: Inspired by the worst game of his career against LSU at the CFP National Championships, Lawrence enters as the favorite.
  3. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama: This season is the Swiss Army Knife and NFL-quality receiver, who can return kicks and penalties.
  4. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU: Cover corners are as rare as rational Twitter discussion. LSU’s new All-Americans may be the country’s best defenders.
  5. Spencer Rutler, QB, Oklahoma: The Suns redshirt freshman has given seven career passes. Who cares? Las Vegas fell in love with him as a Heisman candidate. He already has the best quarterback coach as his head coach (Lincoln Riley).

What about ranking?

Each major service, especially the AP Top 25 and Coach’s Polls, will comprise one third of the participating teams. While this fact will contribute to the bonus clauses of some coaches at the end of the season, it does allow for some well-deserved attention for teams that will usually be abandoned.

CBS Sports 130 76, the revised version of our regular weekly ranking of every FBS team, takes into account the low allocation of already active programs. This allowed Tennessee, Iowa State, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Miami (FL), Kentucky, Florida State, Baylor, Pittsburgh, and Appalachian State to enter the preseason top 25, where they would otherwise have been on the tail.

Will consecutive games be canceled?

Well, surely something will happen because there are already three. TCU-SMU, Baylor-Louisiana Tech and Oklahoma State-Tulsa have already been postponed following the outbreak of COVID-19 positivity.

Whether or not the games should be played based on available players has not yet been fully determined to actually enter Week 2 of the season.

Only the Big 12 has such parameters. Last Friday, it announced the minimum number of players required for a game at 53. Altogether there are at least seven offensive linemen, four defensive linemen and one quarterback. Teams that fall below those numbers can still choose to play. Otherwise, the game will be declared “no contest” if it cannot be made. Some forms of that format should be adopted by other conventions.

That’s why the league has plugged in several sub-weeks in its restructured schedule – to create game-making opportunities. Also that commissioners have insisted since the beginning of March that not everyone is going to end a full program.

There is no estimate of what lies ahead with COVID-19. We have been asked to prepare for the second wave in the fall / winter. Football has to be adjusted accordingly. This means some hard and fast rules for players to disappear during game week.

“This year, you can throw him out the window,” Kansas State coach Chris Kleiman said. “If a youth can practice for a day or two and attend all the meetings, it is all on deck.”

What if the opt out continues into the season?

This may be the biggest lasting effect of the COVID-19 season. Some of the game’s best and brightest stars have already chosen not to play. CBS Sports Opt Out Tracker has 83 Power Five players – including many in the Big Ten and Pac-12 – having decided not to play this season.

UCF (10) and LSU (four) have been particularly hard hit. The Tigers lost All-American receiver Ja’Marr Chase, causing an already troubling loss to NFL and graduation talent.

Whether this is unilateral between COVID-19 or a trend for the future is not yet known.

What is the status of the COVID-19 test?

It is getting better every day. The ACC, Big 12 and SEC are conducting board tests three times during game week, with the third rapid test coming within 24 hours before kickoff. Duke has announced that it will test its players daily.

The Pac-12 last Friday announced “groundbreaking”, a partnership with Quid, that would allow the conference to conduct daily tests on site with rapid results.

All of this will help determine who is healthy enough to play. But until we get rid of the coronavirus as a vaccine or therapeutic, we are still wandering and amazed.