With more than a month until the start of the scheduled regular season, it’s clear that college football is facing an uphill battle.
As players were invited back to begin preseason workouts, positive COVID-19 tests began popping up everywhere. Colleges across the country reported multiple coronavirus cases on their football teams, including at WVU.
Now as the new season approaches, precautionary measures are being taken.
Both the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences announced last week that they would be playing a conference-only schedule for all fall sports.
In spite of their decision, the Big 12 Conference, among others, are waiting to make such a difficult decision.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby explained why he felt “it’s a little early” to make such a drastic move. According to CBS Sports, he said:
“We need to do what our doctors and our scientists are telling us, which is move slowly ahead and constantly reevaluate. The virus is going to decide whether we’re ready and able to play.”
The schedule change in the Big Ten actually has a direct impact on WVU football, and another Big 12 program.
WVU will no longer play its Sept. 19 game at home against Maryland. Iowa State will also not travel to play in-state rival Iowa.
Although many around the US, including West Virginia sportsbooks, would love to have a normal college football season, it’s going to be tough. The Big 12 may have to adjust its plans in order to keep health as a priority.
Big 12 Conference Football
College football is very important around the country, but it’s different in certain areas. With not as many professional teams in Big 12 country, fans gravitate to their favorite college teams even more.
This is definitely true in Morgantown, and probably part of the reason why Commissioner Bowlsby is hesitant to reduce the football season.
The SEC and ACC have also not made any decisions regarding their schedules as of yet.
The process would be much easier is if COVID-19 cases remained low. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for a large portion of the country.
While WV is still one of the healthiest states, some of its neighbors in the South aren’t doing as well. Texas and Florida have seen a tremendous amount of new coronavirus cases in the last few weeks.
Even though the future is looking bleak at the moment, there is no issue with waiting to make a decision. There is still time before the season gets underway, so nothing needs to be set in stone this second.
Bowlsby was actually surprised to hear about the Big Ten choosing to play a conference-only slate this season. He said:
“[Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren] never gave any indication that this is what they were going to do. In fact, he told us this morning at some length that he was not going to surprise anybody and that he would get to us in advance.”
Regardless of other conferences making these decisions, it appears that every conference is on its own going into the year. This means that all might feature different regulations and rules around weekly testing.
Although it might not be the result everyone wants, playing just a conference schedule in 2020 could make the most sense.
College Football Plans
Some leagues have disregarded this fall entirely. The Ivy League and the Patriot League have both canceled all fall sports and will look to play football in the spring.
This could be a bad sign for the rest of the conferences looking to play.
While these moves can be viewed as cautious, the Ivy League was the first to opt out early from the basketball season. Of course, every other conference followed its lead shortly after.
Let’s hope this isn’t an indication of what’s to come for college football.
Other schools are taking a different approach. Oklahoma, a fellow Big-12 opponent, is working on adjusting its schedule for safety reasons.
By moving its opener against Missouri State up to Aug. 29, the Sooners would have an open week after each of the first two weeks. It would also give OU an extra bye in the beginning part of its non-conference schedule.
Oklahoma already has a two-week gap between its game against Tennessee on Sept. 12 and its following matchup with Army on Sept. 26.
Extra time could be extremely valuable this year in college football. Teams will constantly be testing their players and naturally, some will show up positive for COVID-19.
With more space between games, players could miss less action after entering quarantines.
If the Big 12 decides to join some of the other Power 5 in conference-only schedules, it already has a plan in place.
WVU Football Betting Odds
College football fans are very anxious about this upcoming year. It would be catastrophic for schools all over the US if the 2020 season is not played.
After already losing revenue from March Madness, college programs absolutely need the funds provided from football. Some smaller schools have already begun eliminating sports that they can no longer budget for.
Unfortunately, this trend will surely continue if the worst happens for college football this fall.
While things are uncertain, many are still optimistic. WV sportsbooks are absolutely hoping college football, among other sports, can all safely return.
Even with schedules up in the air, bettors are able to place futures wagers on this season. Each of the online betting apps featured in the state have odds up. They include:
At the moment, DraftKings shows the following odds to win this year’s National Championship:
- Clemson +150
- Ohio State +275
- Alabama +400
- Georgia +1200
- Florida +2000
- LSU +2000
- Oklahoma +3300
- Texas A&M +4000
- Auburn +5000
- Notre Dame +5000
- WVU +15000