I’ll admit it: 2020 has landed its share of body blows on my poor torso and, quite frankly, done some damage. I’ve been beaten, battered and even staggered a time or two, but I’m still standing — well, proverbially of course.
The upside is I’m a lot tougher now and have come to anticipate the jabs and uppercuts my devious opponent continues to throw. Clearly, I’ve been playing defense in this column for months now trying desperately to come up with interesting ways to write about nothing. I guess my “Seinfeld” obsession is finally paying off.
Then, the SEC announced a conference-only schedule and promised to release an update last week. I waited and waited and waited, and at long last, it was finally announced on Friday. The conference didn’t reveal any specific dates or give any kind of meaningful order, but the two added opponents for each SEC school were unveiled. Who cares if there were any pertinent details? It was actually something tangible and relevant to Auburn I could write about. Finally!
Of course, in hindsight, I should have smelled the dead cat in the woodpile. That’s my fault. Will I ever learn? I dropped my guard for just a few moments and 2020 sucker punched me right in the face. We couldn’t even get through a weekend before sources started to report that the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences were having emergency meetings and were ready to pull the plug on the entire fall sports season.
As of the time I’m writing this, it’s being reported that the Big Ten has in fact canceled or postponed the fall sports season. I have yet to see anything definitive from the conference itself but chances are by the time this is published it will have clarified the situation one way or the other.
If the reports are true, I have to believe the Pac-12 will fall in line in short order and announce a cancelation or postponement as well. What does that mean for the SEC? Your guess is as good as mine.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not surprised by the announcement from the Big Ten (if it’s true). My confidence about the college football season has dwindled significantly in recent weeks. What I do find very surprising is the fractured nature of college football and, more specifically, the Power-5.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was lobbying to play the season while this supposed announcement was being made. Nebraska head coach Scott Frost is saying his team will look at every available option to play this season even outside the Big Ten, if necessary. The Mid-Atlantic Conference has canceled fall sports, but the Sun Belt apparently intends to play a full schedule.
I find it very surprising the Big Ten would cancel or postpone fall sports without consulting or being in some form of agreement with the rest of the Power-5. Rest assured, the SEC will act as one. That could mean playing the season or it could mean canceling or postponing the season. But either way, it will be a league decision.
Some college football players in some conferences are demanding this and others in other conferences are demanding that. I think I know less now than I did yesterday.
Will there be college football in 2020? I don’t know, but it’s not looking good. However, I do know this: College football divided against itself cannot stand.
Andy Graham is a regular columnist for The Outlook.