On Tuesday, the California State University system made a stunning announcement that all 23 campuses would be closed for the fall semester. In the announcement, CSU Chancellor Timothy White said the universities will have classes online rather than have students return to campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement was significant for college football in the state of California. Three of the six Mountain West Conference West Division teams are affected by it. Now the Pac-12 has responded with a statement of its own to address this situation.
“The Pac-12 and our member universities will make our own determinations on when our student-athletes can return to play and when and how campuses will reopen to students. These decisions will be based first and foremost on the health and well-being of all those connected to the Pac-12, and informed by the advice of public health and medical experts along with the state and local governmental orders. Every day we are learning new and important information that will inform our decisions, and we believe that there is great benefit to having as much relevant data as possible before making such decisions.”
It’s hard to argue with the logic behind this statement from the Pac-12. The most prudent thing to do, while there is still plenty of time, is to wait and see.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby expects the college football season to begin on time, but that doesn’t mean he has no concerns about the coronavirus pandemic impacting the college football season.
He sounds pretty concerned with the end of the season and playoffs being affected by a resurgence in the coronavirus.
“I worry more about the end of the season and the postseason than I do the beginning parts of the season,” Bowlsby said on Sirius XM’s Big 12 radio, according to ESPN’s Sam Khan Jr. “If the virus comes roaring back in the traditional flu and virus season in November, December, through March, I wonder if we’re going to get basketball seasons in, I wonder if we’re going to get the [College Football Playoff] in, I wonder if we’re going to get the NCAA tournament in. We will be very lucky to get through the postseason and the basketball season without disruptions.”
At this point, there’s no word on whether or not the college football season will even begin on time, but Bowlsby brings up a great point on the coronavirus potentially regaining steam.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a stop to major sports with increasing concerns for whether or not the 2020 college football season will start on time. As coaches and college administrators continue to navigate their way through an unprecedented time, there is reportedly talk about moving the upcoming season into 2021.
According to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, one possibility being discussed around the NCAA is playing the season in spring 2021. The idea, which has reportedly been talked about by coaches and administrators, would allow teams more time to prepare for a potential season.
The University of Oklahoma announced Friday that it is suspending in-person activities through July 31. The decision comes at a time when states throughout the country are extending their stay-at-home orders with the COVID-19 pandemic worsening.
Oklahoma’s decision casts further doubt on the college football season starting on time. Coaches have said they would need two months to prepare their players for the season. In the best-case scenario, the Sooners could just start practicing in August, and that would still require the university not further extending its suspension of in-person activities.
One of the 2020 NFL Draft’s most highly rated prospects is feeling good after undergoing hip surgery in November. Among doubts that Tua Tagovailoa won’t be what he was before surgery, the Alabama quarterback feels that he could compete in an NFL game today if he had to.
Tagovailoa has been fully cleared for action and is expected to be the second QB taken behind LSU’s Joe Burrow in this year’s draft. The young QB said his agency has provided teams with updated medical information and workout/performance videos.
The entire 2020 NFL draft order is nearly set, and Cincinnati’s pick is due in just over three months. Here’s a look at our latest 2020 NFL mock (Jan. 20, 2020).
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1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
2019 has been the year of Joe Burrow, who won the Heisman Trophy and national championship and is the overwhelming favorite to be Cincinnati’s choice for the No. 1 overall pick. He’s shown drastic improvement in his senior season at LSU, completing nearly 76 percent of his passes and also showing above-average scrambling ability. The only major knock on Burrow is that he’s old for a first-round prospect, set to turn 24 in December. That said, 2019 fourth-round pick Ryan Finley hasn’t shown anything that should make the Bengals bypass this opportunity.
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2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
Young is the best defensive lineman prospect of his generation, which is saying a lot given rookie Nick Bosa’s success in San Francisco this season. Incredibly, Young recorded 16.5 sacks through his first 12 games this season and has a chance to make a huge impact on a Washington defensive line that already has a lot of talent.
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3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Cornerback is already one of Detroit’s strengths, but the addition of Okudah could potentially allow the Lions to shop star Darius Slay after the cornerback seemed disgruntled earlier this season. Okudah is the consensus top cornerback in the 2020 class. He is a shutdown corner with three picks in 13 games this season.
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4. New York Giants: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Giants need a playmaker at wideout after trading Odell Beckham Jr. last offseason. Jeudy had 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns this season and ranks right alongside Julio Jones and Amari Cooper as among the most talented wideouts to come out of Alabama in recent memory.
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5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Tagovailoa was the consensus No. 1 overall draft choice entering the year, but ankle and hip injuries have given him the “injury-prone” label. Before his season-ending injury earlier this season, Tagovailoa completed more than 71 percent of his passes with 33 touchdowns in nine games, albeit with elite receiving weapons in Alabama. He would be entering an optimal situation in Miami with the ability to play when he’s ready and learn from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Odell Beckham Jr. caused some issues for the LSU football team when he handed out money to players on the field after the national championship game on Monday night, but school officials originally said there was nothing to worry about because the money was fake. Joe Burrow is not exactly corroborating that claim.
In an appearance on the “Pardon My Take” podcast that aired Wednesday morning, Burrow was asked about Beckham handing out wads of cash to players. While the Heisman Trophy winner was not one of the players shown on video, Burrow says he did get some money from Beckham. And it was real.
“Umm, yeah. I’m not a student-athlete anymore, so I can say yeah,” Burrow said when asked if OBJ gave him cash, per Brian Fonseca of NJ.com.
Podcast host Big Cat then said he thought it would have been awesome if Beckham printed fake money to hand out “just as a flex.” Burrow said he was unsure of how much money Beckham gave out.
Joe Burrow was ready for his national-championship ring following his fifth touchdown pass on Monday night.
The LSU Tigers quarterback threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Terrace Marshall Jr. to put his team up 42-25 on Clemson early in the fourth quarter. As he walked toward the sideline after the touchdown pass, Burrow pointed to his hand to say he was ready for his championship ring.
At that point in the game, Burrow had 442 passing yards, five passing touchdowns, 60 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. He had his hand in all six of LSU’s touchdowns. Improbably, Burrow was nearing the 493-yard, seven-touchdown performance he had against Oklahoma.
When looking back on the last 30 years of college football champions, there are four separate eras of the sport. Currently we live in the College Football Playoff era where four teams get the opportunity to battle it out for the championship. From 1998 to 2013, the BCS was designed to pit the perceived top two teams against each other for a national championship game. Before that was the Bowl Alliance, which was designed to get the top teams to play each other in a bowl game. Prior to all of that was the original bowl structure.
Needless to say, how we get our national champions has changed over time. The advent of computer rankings and a playoff has also meant some changes in how regular seasons play out (plus the addition of conference championship games). Seasons are shorter, conferences smaller and there is less opportunities. Of course as you say that, we will be seeing Clemson play for the championship for the fourth time in five seasons.
So let’s look back at the last 30 years of champions. There have been 30 years of title teams but there are 34 champions due to split national championships in 1990, 1991, 1997 and 2003. All champions are included, so let’s see how the rankings stack up.
34. Colorado Buffaloes, 1990
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Not many teams can fall as far as Colorado did in 1990 yet still end up winning a share of a national championship. The Buffaloes opened the season 1-1-1 after a loss to Illinois and a tie with Tennessee, and the Associated Press dropped them to No. 20 in the rankings. Colorado also benefited from two of the most debated moments in college football: the Fifth Down Game against Missouri and the Orange Bowl against Notre Dame where a clipping call negated a Raghib Ismail touchdown with 43 seconds left. This wasn’t a dominant champion, though the Buffs did beat No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 3 Nebraska in consecutive weeks, the latter on the road.
33. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 1990
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The 1990 season wasn’t one of the banner years of great college football. Georgia Tech was the only team to finish undefeated…yet did end up with a tie against North Carolina. That tie was during a stretch in the middle of the season where the Yellow Jackets won games by two, seven, three and three. One of those three-point wins was at No. 1 ranked Virginia, which launched a team that wasn’t even ranked during the first four weeks of the season into a long shot to win a national title. As teams fell around them, the Jackets chugged along and ended up winning the Coaches Poll national championship by one point.
LSU won a national championship just four years after Nick Saban left Baton Rouge following its last title. The Tigers are the lone team to win a national championship with two losses since the BCS era began. Both those losses were in triple overtime (43-37 to Kentucky; 50-48 to Arkansas), but despite being ranked No. 7 in the BCS heading into the SEC championship, LSU took advantage of losses by Missouri and West Virginia and its own win over Tennessee to jump to No. 2 in the BCS standings. The Tigers also had the fortunate luck to face Ohio State for the BCS championship in the Sugar Bowl in nearby New Orleans.
The Tim Tebow hype was just beginning, but it was senior Chris Leak who held down the starting job. Tebow played in special packages to give the offense some juice, but it was the defense, led by Reggie Nelson, Ryan Smith and Jarvis Moss, that carried this team. The Gators allowed 20 points or more just three times all season and beat up Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith in the BCS championship to upset Ohio State, 41-14.
Unlike the other Alabama championship teams, this squad didn’t come into the championship round as the baddest man on the block. The Tide squeaked into earning a Playoff berth after losing to Auburn in their regular-season finale and not even playing for the SEC championship. Still, Bama blew out defending champion Clemson before beating Georgia in a classic title tilt. Down at halftime, Nick Saban benched Jalen Hurts in favor of freshman Tua Tagovailoa, who led the Tide to an improbable comeback overtime win. What sets this Alabama team back from the others was the lack of offensive explosiveness during the season.
The Crimson Tide were led by a stingy defense that allowed just 9.2 points per game for the season and shut down the defending champion Miami Hurricanes in the Sugar Bowl. Bama also boasted a lethal running attack led by backs David Palmer and Derrick Lassic and a senior receiver named Dabo Swinney. It was the first championship for Alabama since Bear Bryant roamed the sidelines and last until Nick Saban took over.
28. Michigan Wolverines, 1997
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This was a magical season in Ann Arbor, as the Wolverines boasted the Heisman Trophy winner (Charles Woodson) and a share of the national championship. Michigan’s season went like its games: methodical and needing to slowly climb to get the victory. The Wolverines moved to the No. 1 ranking late in the year after a win over No. 2 Penn State, and they would beat ranked Wisconsin, Ohio State and Washington State to claim the Associated Press national championship. The defense was outstanding by not allowing any fourth-quarter points until the Penn State game…its ninth of the season…and allowed more than eight points in only seven of their first nine games. Since the Big Ten champion was bound to the Rose Bowl, we didn’t get the Michigan vs. Nebraska game everyone wanted. But both would end up champion.
27. Miami Hurricanes, 1989
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Look at the names on this defense: Cortez Kennedy, Russell Maryland, Jessie Armstead, Michael Barrow, Jimmie Jones, Bernard Clark, Darryl Williams. This was Dennis Erickson’s first season in Miami after the successful Jimmy Johnson era. The No.2-ranked ‘Canes blew through the first half of the season until they were spanked by Florida State, 24-10. Miami was seemingly out of the championship discussion until a 27-10 win over top-ranked Notre Dame vaulted the Hurricanes from seventh to second in the rankings in the regular-season finale. Miami would beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, while new No. 1 Colorado was throttled in the Orange Bowl by…Notre Dame.
26. Alabama Crimson Tide, 2015
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People tend to forget that during the Nick Saban era the Tide had some tough endings to seasons in the mid-2010s. After getting spanked by Oklahoma in 2013 and upset by Ohio State in 2014, the 2015 team had the feeling of a redemption tour. Despite losing early in the season to Ole Miss, the Crimson Tide battled back with great defense and a stable of great backs and big-play receivers to win another national championship. Alabama allowed more than 16 points in a game just once during its last 11 games, leading to the title game in which the Tide won a shootout over Clemson.
25. Miami Hurricanes, 1991
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The Hurricanes were an outstanding defensive team with stars Darrin Smith and Darryl Williams, and they shut down David Klingler and Houston’s offense early on in the season. This ‘Canes team may be best known as the one that toppled top-ranked Florida State in the “Wide Right” game and for having a freshman defensive tackle named Dwayne Johnson —now more commonly known as The Rock. What holds Miami back a bit is that it played in the old bowl structure with predetermined matchups, and that put the Hurricanes against No. 11 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, while co-champion Washington beat No. 4 Michigan in the Rose Bowl.
What offseason? At least, that’s got to be the mentality of our list of coaches facing the most pressure this year. Some are recent, high-profile hires for whom anything less than instant success will be considered a failure. Some have had time to develop their programs but have fallen short of expectations. Across the board, a lot of eyeballs — and not all friendly — will be on this group when it’s time to take the gridiron this fall.
This December, after a 5-7 finish to the season, Trojan fans and college football pundits alike were mystified when USC athletic director Lynn Swann hitched his wagon to Helton for another season. It was the worst finish for the Trojans since 2000 (the year before Pete Carroll went to Los Angeles) and one of only four seasons with fewer than six wins since 1961. In three full seasons as USC’s head coach, Helton has taken the Trojans to a Rose Bowl and a Cotton Bowl. For almost any other program, that would be considered coaching success, but USC is a program accustomed to being in the national title conversation every year. Anything short of a playoff berth in 2019 will be viewed as an abject failure (especially in light of the Kliff Kingsbury debacle that kicked off the Trojans offseason).
Chris Ash, Rutgers
The prospects for Rutgers couldn’t be more different than those at USC, and yet Ash hasn’t lived up to the comparatively meager expectations. The Big Ten is a tough conference — one which the Scarlet Knights joined fewer than five years ago — and to be sure, it can take a while for football programs with lesser pedigrees to catch up. But under Ash, Rutgers has looked like it barely belongs in the FBS, let alone the Power Five. Coming off a 1-11 season in 2018 and with just five FBS wins in his three years as head coach, Ash is in dire need of an uptick. This is a case where a multimillion-dollar buyout is likely keeping the coach in place for the time being, but if Ash doesn’t make great strides in turning the program around in Year 4, Rutgers will surely cuts its losses.
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
After a season in which his team only narrowly missed a playoff berth, Harbaugh may not quite be on the proverbial hot seat…but the noise from the rafters is getting harder and harder to tune out. In 2019, Harbaugh will have to prove he can “win the big game,” a task that has often eluded the head coach since he led the Stanford Cardinal to an Orange Bowl win to end the 2010 season. Specifically, the Wolverines need to beat rival Ohio State for the first time in Harbaugh’s tenure. A 41-15 shellacking in the Peach Bowl, courtesy of Florida, left a stench that will carry over into next season unless Harbaugh can finally prove that he’s more than just a fixer — that he has what it takes to guide a team to a championship finish. Nothing less than a playoff spot will do in Ann Arbor.
Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee
The stink of the Greg Schiano debacle, in which Tennessee fans railed so hard against his hire that Vols administration was forced to renege on the deal, still lingers in Knoxville. When Jeremy Pruitt got the gig a few weeks later, the same fans were supportive and seem to remain so despite a disappointing 5-7 finish in Pruitt’s first year. That will all evaporate quickly if the ex-Alabama defensive coordinator doesn’t produce a winning season in 2019, especially because the pieces are in the place. The Volunteers lost only a couple of seniors, return key performers at a multitude of positions and had an impressive signing day — so expectations will be high. Fair or not, SEC fan bases can turn on a dime, with the Volunteers’ among the most passionate.
Scott Frost, Nebraska
Frost is another second-year coach with something to prove. The Cornhuskers’ 0-6 start in 2018, which was the worst in program history, had some fans calling for Frost’s head despite the fact the ink on his contract had hardly dried. Considering the dismal inauguration to the Frost era, the fact that Nebraska finished 4-8 left a sense of optimism for the year ahead. The 2019 schedule is much more favorable — the Huskers will get their two toughest opponents, Ohio State and Wisconsin, at home. But this is a program with a proud tradition, big expectations and a definite sense of impatience in the wake of Mike Riley’s tenure. Should Nebraska suffer another slow start, or fail to show up for the midlevel Big Ten opponents, Frost’s favor will dry up in a hurry.
Gus Malzahn, Auburn
When Malzahn guided the Tigers to a BCS Championship berth in his first season, hype for the coach reached a fever pitch. Unfortunately it appears Auburn’s skipper may have peaked early. Subsequently, the Tigers have been, well, just OK. Sure, they’ve played in two New Year’s Six bowl games and won the SEC West in 2017. They’re also 2-6 in the postseason under Malzahn and followed up that stellar 2017 campaign with a dud this past year. After 2017, Auburn signed Malzahn to a reported seven-year, $49 million contract extension — a number that all but precludes a buyout. But this is the SEC. Stranger things have happened than an expensive coach getting the boot following a winning season. Malzahn should be ready for a 2019 in which his every move, every play call and every final score will be scrutinized.
Mack Brown, North Carolina
But, you say, Brown is a living legend who’s already proved he can win in Chapel Hill! That, of course, is exactly why Brown is under a fair amount of pressure before he’s even donned the Tar Heel colors for his second stint. Since Brown departed for Texas in 1998, after leading one of the most successful eras in North Carolina football history, the Tar Heels have struggled to stay relevant in the increasingly competitive ACC. Brown’s hiring isn’t just about the X’s and O’s — it’s a sentimental one as well. North Carolina’s fans and administrators alike are hungry to recapture the magic of Mack Brown, Part 1. There are plenty of hurdles to overcome. Brown hasn’t coached since 2013, and his final years at Texas weren’t successful ones. Additionally, this a full-blown rebuild: The Tar Heels have won a total of five games over the last two seasons. No one is predicting an overnight turnaround, but this was easily one of the most high-profile hires of the offseason, so a lot of eyeballs will be on Brown.