ESPN announcer says college football needs 3rd-and-long completion to have season
|Tuesday, July 14, 2020, 8:01 AM- -|
College football is facing a 3rd-and-long and desperately needs a first down if the season is to be played.
ESPN college football announcer Chris Fowler has been fairly optimistic regarding the 2020 season, but he took to Instagram Sunday to give his latest thoughts on whether the season will be played.
“We are looking for some hopeful words, a more upbeat forecast for a potential college football season. But it's getting harder and harder to find,” Fowler said. “Publicly, nobody wants to be the voice of doom and gloom, but if you talk privately to administrators, they are pessimistic. That is what you are sort of hearing is hopefulness and sort of neutral statements like we still have time before we have to make the very grim decisions. The reason of course is the spike in COVID cases in the last month or so. Many of the COVID hotspots are the hotbeds for college football - states like California and Texas and Florida. Combined, they have 26 FBS teams.
“Nobody knows for sure how many athletes have tested positive. The New York Times has done surveys and even though many schools are not reporting that data the number of positives tests is approaching 500 and our prayers are with those athletes who are battling the virus as well as Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, who has tested positive and is quarantining at home.”
The 2020 college football season is scheduled to begin in late August/early September. However, two major conferences – the Big Ten and the Pac-12 – have already announced they’ll be playing conference-only schedules. The ACC, SEC, and Big 12 could soon follow and the season’s kickoff date could be pushed back to late September or even October.
“The Pac-12 joined the Big 10 in canceling all of its non-conference games. The Big 10 was the first to do it and the other leagues got mad and felt like the Big 10 was jumping the gun,” Fowler said. “But that conference felt like it was inevitable so why not just make the decision. The ACC, the SEC, the Big 12 all believe they have until the end of the month before making any real announcements. But what scared people was that the Big 10's announcement felt like the first step toward a total cancellation.”
The NCAA allowed teams to begin offseason workouts this week, and Fowler said it’s hard to keep college players and coaches protected.
“It's so challenging to keep a college football team in the bubble and protected. Much more difficult than it is for an NBA team or a MLB team, and those leagues are still very hopeful of having seasons,” he said. “College players, some of them are being asked to sign waivers waiving their legal rights should they be asked to play college football. Is that really what we want to be doing? College football is talking about putting 20 or 25 percent capacity in their stadiums this fall. Some are hopeful of putting even more than that, but how sensible and realistic does that seem at the moment?”
In other words, the sports need a long third-down completion if it wants to have anything close to a normal season.
“It just feels like the sport, if it doesn't need a Hail Mary, it needs at the very least a 3rd-and-long completion for a first down to avoid having to punt,” Fowler said. “But fingers are crossed and I very much remain hopeful and very much want to have games to call and you want to have games to watch and the players very much want to have games to play. Even though the cost economically of canceling a season would be absolutely crushing, you are also talking about the human cost of trying to play a sport before you're ready.”