How Does College Football Work in 2020?
As we all know, 2020 has been quite a roller coaster. Covid-19 struck the world and changed all of our lives. And, one of its many impacts has been on college sports, particularly college football. Months ago, we weren't even sure if students were going to be able to return to their college campus’, let alone participate in or watch sports. Somehow the NCAA has made college football possible, but has it truly been successful?
On one hand, college football has given these athletes a chance to do what makes them happy. Some of these athletes need this year in order to impress NFL teams and qualify for the NFL draft. This season also gives people something to watch and root for, which translates to a lot of money for the NCAA. In addition, everyone wanted a successful college football season because us sports fans really needed it to distract themselves from the pandemic.
The NCAA has attempted to keep Covid-19 under control and keep their athletes safe. Every single athlete gets a Covid-19 test each day the moment they report to the practice facility in the morning. They also have limited capacity in stadiums (which are also outdoors) and make every fan wear a mask.
However, after taking all of these precautions, there have still been thousands of cases amongst college football athletes. No matter what the NCAA does, it is still college, and despite the attempts, Covid-19 has not been contained completely. With cases spiking again, it is hard to tell if all schools will be able to stay open for the rest of the season. Many schools have already begun to go remote and the season still has a long way to go. The National Championship is not until January 11, 2021, which is still around two months away. This leaves two more months for something to go wrong, but as of now the season is still alive.
However, if there is any sport that has the best chance of being shut down it is football. They have around 100 people in each program (including coaches, athletes, trainers, etc.). A substantial number. It is also impossible to completely control what these athletes do off the field. At the end of the day, it is hard to complain as a college football fan given that we actually have games to watch.
Although there has been such an outbreak in cases throughout college football, games won't necessarily be cancelled just because someone tests positive on a team. Recently, Clemson's quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, tested positive for Covid-19. Lawrence is arguably the best college quarterback even though he is only a junior. If he declares his availability for the NFL draft this year, rather than playing his senior year at Clemson, he is projected to be the number one overall pick. Many people only watch Clemson football games to see Trevor Lawrence play. When he tested positive for Covid-19, their backup quarterback proved unable to avert a loss against Notre Dame. Teams still need to prepare if one or a few of their players test positive.
Covid-19 has also affected the college football playoffs this year. The college football playoffs are a tournament amongst the top 4 teams. Those rankings are not solely based on record. Instead, they are chosen by experts who weigh schedule difficulty, record, and point differential. Because many games have been cancelled or postponed, experts have a difficult job in ranking teams. It is also hard for them to determine how good a team is if they are missing some of their best players. As I said earlier, Clemson lost a big game to Notre Dame because the team lacked its star player, Trevor Lawrence. Does that necessarily make Notre Dame the better football team? As you can see, college football has been a little different this year, but as a fan, I’m just glad that there is a season.