Category Archives: college football

We embrace the college football season

The Big 10 (with 14 schools; can anyone do math?) will play college football this fall. That conference, steeped in tradition and at one time a paragon of virtue (or at least of three yards and a cloud of dust), has sold its soul.

It couldn’t resist the lust of money, so it concocted a nice story that widespread daily testing will allow for all players to find out instantly whether they’ve contracted coronavirus.

Such propaganda. But propaganda that will be quickly digested by fans ready to watch their favorite team play a game during a pandemic.

Critic: “C’mon, we can’t just sit around and do nothing right now, Anthony. Let them play!”

Me: “So, we’re going to just sit around, staying as safe as we can from a virus that’s killed 200,000 of our fellow citizens and watch them play? The irony is lost on you?”

I suppose being noble and making such coronavirus tests available for the good citizens of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — you know, the taxpayers who (sort of) fund 13 of the 14 universities — is, well, undignified, when television money and a potential national championship is at stake.

Football fans now have an almost full plate of top-level college football to look forward to in the coming weeks. The PAC-12 (which has 12 schools; the people out west clearly do know how to count), mocked for so many reasons from being too soft to playing too late into the night (for those east coast snobs), remains the lone “power” conference not playing.

Will the presidents and chancellors of those institutions — 10 of which are public — remain resolute in saying no to all sports this fall?

I certainly hope they do.

We now face a really interesting scenario: How to ensure Ohio State is included in the four-team national championship tournament.

That’s what today’s decision by the leaders of the Big 10 was all about. You know it, and I know it. Ohio State would have been ranked no worse than second right now in a normal college football season. Those championship dreams cannot be denied.

If the Buckeye$$$$$ go 8-0 (as of now, it appears the Big 10 will play only eight games), they will be judged against teams that (might) play 10 or 11 games.

Let’s presume the other Power-5 conferences have only one team each going unbeaten — let’s project Clemson (ACC), Oklahoma (Big 12, with only 10 teams; seriously, can anyone but the people in the PAC-12 do math?), and Alabama (SEC) — then the played-fewer-games-but-are-still-undefeated Buckeye$$$$$ can slot into that fourth spot. (Controversy be damned because Ohio State fans will buy tickets to the ga… Exactly.)

Ah, but what happens if the Buckeye$$$$$ lose one game but win their conference?

Oh, my friend, now we weave a tangled web. What if the runners up in those other conferences also have just one loss, but have two or three more wins?

Spare me the nonsense that the “committee’s job is to find the four best teams.” How do you find the four best teams in a year in which victories (or defeats) could be tainted by the number of players infected with coronavirus and who therefore can’t play?

And I await the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Buckeye country, people who will say O H I O won its conference! (Actually O H I O didn’t win its conference, because the Mid-American Conference opted to not play football this fall.) And if the Buckeye$$$$$ won their conference, then by God and country, they “earned” the right to play for the title.

Of course, they did.

My friends, there is no good way to determine the four teams that should play for the championship this year. Even if all four major conferences complete the season without a single game being cancelled, the problem of what to do with one team being 8-0 while others might be 9-1 or 10-1 can’t be ignored. If playing as few games as possible is smart — hey, fewer chances at a loss! — then reduce the season to 8 games for all the conferences.

At least then we’re comparing soup to (Buckeye) nuts. Oh, and all those extra tests can be donated to the public.

REPORT: B1G 10 (with 14 schools) inching closer to playing football in fall (But perhaps without 14 schools)

Let’s face it, folks: The Big 10 (with 14 institutions) Conference is going to do it. Its leaders soon will vote to revoke their no-fall-football plan, announced roughly one month ago, and allow the sport to be played.

The Columbus Dispatch reports

An Ohio State source told The Dispatch it appears to be happening, putting teams in position to return to the field.

“I think everything we’re hearing is that it’s going to move that way,” the source said. “It’s just the timing of when to start.”

For a good laugh, read deeper into the story. There, you’ll find this:

Appearing on ESPN’s “College GameDay” program on Saturday, Ohio State coach Ryan Day said a mid-October kickoff would allow his team to compete for a spot in the College Football Playoff. …

“But first things first, let’s just make sure that we figure out a way to do this safely, then we’ll tackle that next,” Day said, when discussing the playoff race during his ESPN appearance.

Week, at least we know what really matters: the championship.

An earlier story noted that the conference could choose to move forward without all its teams playing. Wouldn’t that be special.

The Not Quite Big 10 Conference (with fewer than 14 schools competing).

Penn State doctor: Roughly 1/3 of Big 10 athletes who had coronavirus have potential life-threatening heart disease

The Centre Daily Times has the story.

During a State College Area school board of directors meeting on Monday night, Wayne Sebastianelli — Penn State’s director of athletic medicine — made some alarming comments about the link between covid-19 and myocarditis, particularly in Big Ten athletes. Sebastianelli said that cardiac MRI scans revealed that about a third of Big Ten athletes who tested positive for covid-19 appeared to have myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that can be fatal if left unchecked.

“When we looked at our covid-positive athletes, whether they were symptomatic or not, 30 to roughly 35 percent of their heart muscles (are) inflamed,” Sebastianelli said. “And we really just don’t know what to do with it right now. It’s still very early in the infection. Some of that has led to the Pac-12 and the Big Ten’s decision to sort of put a hiatus on what’s happening.”