Report: 'Minor miracle' if non-conference games go as scheduled in college football


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Different non-conference games could be in peril this schedule.
Different non-conference games could be in peril this schedule.

A long-awaited return to Notre Dame is the crown jewel of Clemson's 2020 slate this November.

If non-conference games can go on as or-close-to-as-scheduled, it may be one of the more likely to survive the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic and this fall.

Why? In a word, resources.

College football reporter Matt Hayes reported earlier this week that athletic directors and more working in college football said it will be a "minor miracle" if non-conference games happen due to varying protocols. He added that a "pause" of the start until October is "realistic and likely, especially if season trending toward (conference) games only."

Longtime ACC writer David Teel talked to a member of the ACC COVID-19 advisory group, Wake Forest's Murphy Grant, and came to a similar conclusion, as a number of non-Power 5 Conference teams may struggle to keep up with the testing protocols that Power 5s can. Notre Dame would be an exception in that area.

"Grant confirmed what I’ve long suspected: The ACC advisory group is examining whether league teams should play non-conference opponents that don’t meet the ACC’s protocol," Teel wrote.

As for football at all in the fall, Grant doesn't have a definitive answer either.

“I think I get asked that question every single day,” Grant told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “and I truly don’t know how to answer that.”

Back to Hayes, he believes a potential spring season is a "last resort deal."

The Ivy League at the FCS level of Division I appears to be going that route, and while there has been talk of them leading a move that way, Hayes and others don't see the Power 5 following:

Longtime Pac-12 writer Jon Wilner cited sources within Power 5 conferences in schools looking into a nine-plus-one schedule with nine conference games and one non-conference matchup.

Wilner's own proposal calls for the Pac-12 to delay the season by two weeks, move the Pac-12 title game back a week, drop a cross-division game and have flex weekends built-in for teams to possibly reschedule matchups.

Clemson is scheduled to open its 2020 slate at Georgia Tech on Sept. 3.

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