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College football 2020 teeters on the brink

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It could very well be going over the edge soon

Hold me.
PJ Kendall

Good morning, and welcome back to the evergreen roller coaster ride that has been the college football offseason. When COVID-19 was racing its way through the world in the early spring, the greatest hope we had that college football would take place as scheduled centered around the fact that it was still nearly half a year away. By May, the prospects for a normal football season looked quite likely, as the country had been taking concrete steps toward mitigating the spread, and both infections and deaths were on the wane.

But of course, we Americans couldn’t stand prosperity, the virus did not go away like a miracle - quite the opposite in fact - and now we sit on the verge of seeing no college football until at least 2021. That’s the thrust of Dennis Dodd’s latest article, which quotes two Power Five Athletic Directors as believing that it’s just a matter of time before the rest of FBS follows the MAC’s lead and pulls the plug entirely.

For a while now, many folks have been pitching the idea of moving the entire season to the spring. While that seems like a good Plan B, I just don’t know how we could do so and still get a quality season like we’re used to. Think a lot of guys are opting out now? Just wait until they have to choose between playing a season of college football that abuts the NFL Draft. Then there’s the issue of eligibility and scholarships.

There is already the beginnings of a look ahead to spring football. The first AD stressed that eligibility for players participating in the spring would have to be front-burner item before the 2020 season is moved. The first AD said that issue could begin to be addressed as soon as Wednesday when the NCAA Division I Council next meets.

Several schools and conferences have said they would honor the scholarships of any players who opted out of the 2020 season; however, the question has not been answered as to whether those players would get an extra year of eligibility. Athletic departments would conceivably be on the hook for paying for an extra year.

There are 25 or so new players entering every school as freshmen/transfers. What do we do with all of them? Does the NCAA allow the scholarship cap to temporarily increase to 100? Who pays for all of those extra scholarships? In case you haven’t been following, WSU really can’t afford that! It took the powers-that-be over a century to figure out a four-team playoff. Do you think that those in charge of the sport, with no central governing body and scores of disparate agendas, will be able to agree upon issues with this much weight? I, for one, do not.

Let’s try to bring it back to your Washington State Cougars for a bit. How would a canceled or postponed season affect them? Well, for one thing, it would shine a white hot light on the fact that WSU really needs an indoor practice facility, as trudging out into the February ice box would get old real quick. That said, it probably wouldn’t be as bad as other places in terms of voluntary attrition, but there are still some highly valuable contributors who they could lose as a result of all this madness.

According to the spring roster, there are three seniors with an available redshirt year: Davontavean Martin, George Hicks III and Will Rodgers III. All three of those guys would likely have been large contributors in 2020, and would presumably be able to use a redshirt season in order to come back in 2021.

The roster also denotes that WSU has 12 redshirt seniors who, if in fact the 2020 season does not come to pass, could have played their last games in a Cougar uniform. Among those 12 are nine guys who would have been major contributors this season: Renard Bell, Jahad Woods, Deon McIntosh, Skyler Thomas, Dillon Sherman, Liam Ryan (hopefully at guard), Josh Watson, Calvin Jackson Jr. and Oscar Draguicevich III.

My heart just aches for a guy like Calvin Jackson, who decided to forego most of 2019 in order to preserve his redshirt and gain another year in 2020. Now all of this happens, and he is at great risk of not being able to play his final season.

Now, the upshot to the prospects of a spring season is one that plays directly into the hands of a program like WSU. As much as we’d like it to be, the football program isn’t exactly awash with NFL prospects who can skip the spring in order to prepare for the next level. While more high-profile programs would almost certainly suffer further attrition, there’s a decent chance that WSU could field a roster that closely resembles the current one.

Anyway, the hope here is that we do indeed see some semblance of a season this fall. Barring that, a full season in the spring would be pretty cool, because like you, I love watching college football as much as possible. I just don’t know how feasible it is due to a multitude of factors, first and foremost the fact that this virus isn’t going to disappear “like a miracle.” Matter of fact, at the rate this country is going, the only miracle will be our collective society - from college campuses to big cities to rural communities and everywhere in between - deciding that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, and good luck with that.

EDIT: Here it is, in one tweet:

Wear a goddamn mask, wash your goddamn hands, and stay the f*** away from each other whenever you can. It really is that simple.

Football

I rarely have, and almost certainly never will, voluntarily listen to Husky t-shirt alumnus / microphone-owning troll Dave Mahler’s radio show, with one exception. I download his segment with Petros Papadakis every week, because I enjoy Petros’ view on things, and find myself agreeing with much of what he says. I think he was spot-on with many of his thoughts regarding the latest developments involving Pac-12 football players, as well as the prospects for the upcoming season. An added bonus to the segment with Petros is that sidekick doofus Dick Fain isn’t allowed to participate.

Softy & Dick Interviews | iHeartRadio
Petros Papadakis joins Softy and Dick to discuss the Pac-12 player effort and demands around more compensation and consideration and the issues at hand.

Pac 12 Football Preseason Predictions, Records, Standings, Schedules
With the Pac-12 10 game schedule, here are the preseason predictions for every game and who will play for the championship.

Pac 12 Preview 2020: Top Players, Games, Thoughts On Each Team
The league was among the first to push for the idea of a conference-only schedule, the players were at the forefront of a movement to change the dynamic of college sports as we know it, and real life dropped in like a hammer through the Pac-12 region.

This Week in Parenting

The boys finished week three of the great U.S. adventure, mostly with a trip to Sandpoint, Idaho, for some fun in the sun and on the water. First up was an early rise to catch the grandpa-arranged fishing charter around 0600. It won’t shock you to learn that all four kiddos - my boys and two of their cousins - did not need any prodding in order to roll out of the sack. We had quite the guide, as he knew all the right spots to hit on what was a picturesque morning on Lake Pend Oreille.

My 11 year-old got things started by reeling in a nice smallmouth bass, and the momentum continued throughout the morning. It ended with the four of them catching a total of 29 fish (the original tally was 24, but some fuzzy kid math ensued), including some sizable smallmouth bass, the longest of which measured 17 inches. The guide even said that a few of them would have done well in a fishing derby. I don’t know if he was serious or just fishing for a bigger tip, pun intended, but it was a fun morning on the water.

The next day brought a pontoon boat and, for the first time in their lives, tubing. The morning didn’t start off too promising, as inclement weather threatened to ruin everything. Fortunately, the skies cleared and the wind abated in the afternoon, enabling a beautiful few hours on the water. Despite the rainy skies, white caps and high winds early, the boys were undaunted in their pursuit to ride behind the boat.

When the smoother waters arrived in the afternoon, it was time for dad and his brother to embark on a harrowing ride behind the boat. While threatening to exceed the stated weight limit, we (mostly) survived being whipped around for several minutes. I will spare you the pictures. As you can tell, my kids have had a miserable summer.

Oh, and if you want to get looks from others that suggest you have three heads, wear a mask indoors in Northern Idaho. It’s yet another place where #freedom and #personalchoice outstrip the concept of doing what’s best for our fellow man. Great job, America.

Beer

Sandpoint also has a lot of good beer to offer. The most interesting moment occurred when I wandered into Idaho Pour Authority and noticed some bottles from Labietis Brewing in Riga, Latvia. Pretty crazy that I was in the Labietis brewery just over a month ago, and then saw that same beer on the other side of the world this weekend. Anyhoo, we stopped in at MickDuff’s Beer Hall for a couple refreshments, and their Duffleupagus Triple IPA was the best of many fine selections.

Beer across America: The 35 most successful craft breweries in the US
Craft beer sales grew by 4% in the U.S. in 2019. The list of the most successful craft breweries include spots in Alaska, Maine, Louisiana and Texas.

Non-Sports

Archaeologists Defied ISIS. Then They Took on Facebook. - The Atlantic
The Islamic State turned the social platform into a global marketplace for stolen relics—until a group of vigilante archaeologists took matters into their own hands.

Opinion | Alexander Vindman: Coming forward ended my career. I still believe doing what’s right matters. - The Washington Post
Alexander Vindman, now in civilian life, reflects on his impeachment testimony.