The ongoing COVID-19 quarantines wiped out the winter sports tournaments and the entire spring season. As the pandemic continues, the college football season becomes more at risk.
The quarantine is softening in Georgia, putting UGA football one step closer to returning. However, much of the nation is still dealing with COVID-19 quarantines and some areas will remain under quarantine for the next few months.
Some sports like NASCAR already have plans to resume action without fans. That’s not an option for college football because the athletic departments depend on attendance for a large bulk of revenue. Teams still need to practice to make up for the canceled spring session before starting preseason practices. Those factors will delay the beginning of the season regardless of how long the pandemic lasts.
So, what are the options if the quarantine lasts through the summer? Here are a few ideas the NCAA and the conferences might consider.
Push back the season
If the powers that be are okay with college football lasting through January and possibly into February, the college football season could simply start later. Every team would still play 12 regular-season games, the season just might end around Christmas time instead of the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Bowl games would last through all of January and maybe, the National Championship Game could precede the Super Bowl by a week.
Cancel non-conference games
If having college football season end around the same time as the NFL season is something the powers do not want, the best option is to cut out games. Conference games are too important to cut and there are some non-conference games too important to cut as well.
For SEC schools like UGA football, that means dropping East Tennessee State and Louisiana Monroe. For schools that play nine conference games each year, deciding which opponent to drop might be a little more difficult.
Cancel most bowl games
There’s too many bowl games anyways right? In all seriousness, the bowl games are propped up by television, so they can handle a year off. Most mid-December bowl games and a few late December bowl games might need to be sacrificed for the greater good of college football.
The only bowl games remaining would be the playoff games, New Year’s Six Bowls and other major bowls such as the Citrus Bowl, Outback Bowl, Sun Bowl and the Holiday Bowl, among a few others. Bowl season could start immediately after the conference championship games. This is an option the powers could choose if they had to delay the season, but didn’t want to run the season into February.