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Now what?

How will the 2020 season take shape?

Washington State v Houston Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Good morning. If there’s one thing you can say about this college football offseason, it’s that we’ve never been bored. Unfortunately, the lack of boredom brings to mind Darva Conger’s infamous speech on Joe Millionaire. You’ll have to look that one up kids, but tl;dr it was a tire fire, much like the good ol’ USA is going through these days, on nearly every level imaginable.

You’re well aware by now that the Pac-12 has opted to go to a conference-only slate for 2020. What’s the reason for this move? The easy inference to make regards ease of travel, but “ease of travel” and “Pac-12 geography” have never been synonymous, as the conference schools are spread out widely.

The assumption here - it’s been reported elsewhere as well, I assume - is that since college football has no central governing body, there is really no hope for a uniform virus testing/mitigation policy. As a result, conference commissioners, ADs and presidents believe the only path toward some semblance of a season is by circling the wagons and keeping everything in-house. That way they can develop and dictate a policy without having to worry about meshing with outsiders.

But what would a Pac-12-only season look like? The easy answer would be, “just slide the misses into the canceled non-conference weeks and call it good!” Even if it were that simple, the conference’s leadership would figure out a way to screw it up. (Aside - Get well soon, Larry, in all sincerity). In that case, the Washington State Cougars would pick up the Arizona Wildcats and USC Trojans, ostensibly some time in the first few weeks of the season. While that would be the most preferred solution to every fan, I don’t think it will happen. The planners will almost certainly want to build in some flex due to the fluid pandemic situation, enabling schools another idle week or two.

However, since the slate would be reduced by one game (from 12 to 11) and would be a full round robin, you could eliminate the conference title game and instead leave that as an open week in case a week is lost for one reason or another. And since this season is already going to be like none other in modern memory, you can reasonably assume that there will be no postseason. That would enable the conference to play deeper into December. Of course, with WSU’s luck, the powers-that-be will add one conference opponent, and that opponent will be USC instead of Arizona.

Here’s how I would speculate an 11-game season could look for the Cougs:

Sep 5: at Arizona Wildcats
Sep 12: vs. USC Trojans
Sep 19: Idle
Sep 26: at Oregon State Beavers
Oct 3: vs. California Golden Bears
Oct 10: vs. Utah Utes
Oct 17: at Stanford Cardinal
Oct 24: Idle
Oct 31: vs. Arizona State Sun Devils
Nov 7: at Colorado Buffaloes
Nov 14: at UCLA Bruins
Nov 21: Idle
Nov 28: vs. Oregon Ducks
Dec 5: vs. Washington Huskies

No more than four straight games, and three idle weeks built in, with the option of playing further into December if necessary. I doubt that will be the ultimate answer, but in my opinion, that’s the best answer at this point. And yes, I’m aware that pushing games into the cold weather months comes with its own risk, but there was once a prevailing opinion that the virus would slow its advance during the summer months, and while I’m no epidemiologist, I’d posit that’s been roundly debunked.

I was also kicking around the notion of some sort of Pac-12/Big Sky agreement for that first game, if the conference decided on a 10-game Pac-12 season. I realize this is largely nonsensical, particularly for the Southern California teams, but this entire year has been filled with nonsense, so I’m pressing ahead with this:

WSU vs. Idaho, Washington vs. EWU, Oregon vs. Sac State (long drive but it’s the best I could do), OSU vs. Portland State, Stanford vs. Cal Poly, Cal vs UC Davis, Arizona vs. NAU, ASU vs. Southern Utah, Colorado vs. Northern Colorado, Utah vs. Weber State. USC and UCLA, since you probably want to continue your admirable non-FCS tradition, you’re on your own.

So anyway, this is almost certainly a “pie in the sky” look at things, but that’s about all I’ve got right now. There are myriad other options, such as a move to the spring, which I think is fraught with problems but whatever. Meanwhile, I’ve already accepted the fact that we won’t see college football at all until fall, 2021, because I have an incredibly hard time believing that college kids can adhere to the strict protocols that will be required to pull this off. To be fair, it’s hard to ask them to do so when so many people who know better refuse to abide by even the simplest of mitigation techniques because #freedom or whatever. Enjoy your Sunday!


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This Week in Parenting

Mrs. Kendall and I attended a gathering just down the road on Friday evening, so we decided to leave the boys on their own at the house. Before we left, they asked me to enable their devices past the usual time (I have the Google app that lets me disable their tablets, and the clock is set for 8 p.m. shutoff and 7 a.m. unlock). I told them I’d remember to do so before the appointed time, and we left. I totally forgot to do what I said I’d remember to do.

As we were leaving the party, I checked my phone and noticed that I had an email from... myself?

Took me a minute to reverse engineer it, but I realized that since their tablets locked, they logged on to my laptop (the 8 year-old knows the password because he needed to use it for school), called up my email account, and sent an email to that same address, asking me to unlock their tablets. These are the same kids who “forget” to brush their teeth unless directed to do so.

Over the weekend, we were tossing the ball around the yard. At one point, I noticed that the 8 year-old was having to sweep the hair away from his eyes between fielding and throwing. This is due to the fact that they haven’t had haircuts since March 14. No need to worry, as Mrs. Kendall has a solution.

Once more, I have lost control.

We could have cut their hair by now if we really wanted to, but at this point, it’s like that scene in Seinfeld where Kramer test drives the car, and I want to see how far we can take this.


Best beer I had this week: On our last full day in Riga, we made our way to Alus Dardīnca Labietis for a couple post-museum refreshments. Among them was Rūsinš Caraway Rye Ale. It is characterized as “dangerously easy to drink.” I second that. The brewery’s logo is one of my all-time favorites, so that didn’t hurt.

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