College football is back, but this season has been far from normal. Here’s a roundup of the key stories around the nation.
We’re almost a month into the 2020 college football season and it’s been one heck of a roller coaster ride. With all the twists and turns, it was time for a quick update on the impacts COVID-19 is having on the season.
If you want to look back at the up-and-down news cycle, you can check out the late-July edition of this update here, the early August edition here or the mid-August update here or are most recent update here.
As first reported by The Roost, Rice football has returned to practice and is on track to play their first game on Oct. 24 against Middle Tennessee. The Owls were the last team in Conference USA that intends to play this season to start fall camp.
Through three weeks of football, roughly 75% of the games scheduled as of Week 1 had been played. With a cancelation rate trending toward 25%, the odds of any team completing a full schedule are slim. This weekend saw multiple games (Houston at Baylor, Florida Atlantic at Georgia Southern) postponed the day before kickoff.
UTSA was finishing a football game on Saturday when they found out who they would be playing in Week 4. The Roadrunners were originally scheduled to play Memphis, but that game was lost because of positive tests in the Memphis program. No sooner had that game been canceled than did Conference USA slide in Middle Tennessee into the off date. So much for games needing to be scheduled years in advance.
The Big 12 and ACC have already played games in a staggered fashion. The SEC opted to return all at once with marquee games including Mike Leach’s debut against No. 6 LSU, Mo. 23 Kentucky at No. 8 Auburn, and No. 16 Tennessee at South Carolina.
After the rumblings of a return proved true, the Big Ten announced their return to play protocols and conference schedule this week. Nebraska, who had led the charge to get back on the field, opens with Ohio State and hosts Penn State later in the season too.
Pac-12 and Mountain West announced return plans of their own
Once the Big Ten announced they would play this fall, the Pac-12 quickly changed its tune. There are more hurdles to jump through in California and Oregon before the westernmost conference returns to action, but things seem to be trending that way. The league will resume play the weekend of Nov. 6. The Mountain West, after initially shutting things down with the Pac-12, will start their season on Oct. 24.
Injuries to Charlotte’s Chris Robison and UAB’s Tyler Johnston put an already precarious quarterback situation into further uncertainty. Jack Abraham at Southern Miss and Asher O’Hara at Middle Tennessee are now the only healthy returning starters in the conference. We discussed the new hierarchy of C-USA signal callers in this week’s podcast.