SportsPulse: Dan Wolken and Paul Myerberg discuss if there will be college football this fall. As Wolken put its, all it takes is one bad outcome due to the pandemic to send the sport into chaos.
With the ACC’s decision Wednesday to push the start of its football season back to the second week of September and play 10 conference games with the option to add an in-state non-conference game, it appears college sports has realized it can’t kick the can down the road much farther.
In the coming days, the SEC and the Big 12 are expected to formalize their new schedules as well, meaning there will be a consensus — at least on paper, anyway — for a season that begins roughly on time, plays almost a full season and will provide the novelty of conference games almost exclusively across the board (including Notre Dame, which will be eligible for the ACC title).
By any measure, it is an ambitious plan relying on an untested theory: That it’s possible to play team sports in a non-bubble environment with COVID-19 still rampaging across the country.
Maybe it will work out perfectly. But it begs a question: What’s the rush?
For all the lip service being paid to trying to pull off a season as carefully as possible, college football has one chance to get this right. It might be able to start, but the goal should be to finish.
And the best path to doing that is not the one the power conferences are currently taking.
If logic were driving these decisions rather than money, all of college football would be pressing the pause button right now and aiming for a shorter season of eight or nine games that starts in October, allowing time for college sports to assess the fallout from the Miami Marlins debacle and the start of NFL training camps.
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In fact, delaying the season would provide some answers the three big unknowns right now with a return to sports: