COVID is once again changing the landscape of college football

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This has barely been discussed all season because it was not a problem. I’m talking about COVID-19 and all of a sudden he has reared his ugly head.

This new variant of Omicron is spreading like wildfire and professional leagues across the country have been affected, with the NHL suspending its season, the NBA postponing games and rescheduling the NFL games. Bowl season is now in full swing, but there are some major concerns that could affect teams’ participation. Texas A&M, who were scheduled to play Wake Forest in the Gator Bowl on New Years Eve, pulled out because they couldn’t field a team with enough stock players. In all fairness, it wasn’t just because of COVID, but also players who are NFL prospects refusing to play while others have chosen to transfer. Basically a winning trifecta.

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How to avoid this uncertainty in the future? Well, I’m not going to make it a political debate, so there won’t be a debate about the controversy that exists around vaccines, warrants, antibodies, etc. What we can address is how the transfer portal and the NFL outlook retreating from the games bowl has further watered down the importance of the relevance of the bowls.

The first thing to do is to put the transfer portal on hold until a team has finished their season, and then allow any player to transfer two weeks later. Currently, players are transferred before the game is played, reducing eligible players. Second, ask the respective schools participating in any bowl to purchase a $ 5 million group insurance policy for any player who is permanently injured or sustains a career threatening injury in a bowl game. Sure, the premium can be substantial, but have you seen what these teams pay their coaches and invest in their programs? Don’t discriminate on talent either – just make it a $ 5 million cover. That would mean all of those NFL hopefuls would likely play and take the risk. Pitt (10-2) and Michigan State (10-2) both had excellent seasons and play in the Peach Bowl. Sadly, their best players, Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett and Spartan full-back Kenneth Walker III, have chosen not to play. Do you think the game has lost its luster? There is certainly enough money to pay and maybe these players are taking the risk and playing knowing they are insured.

Finally, have players tested daily and isolate them now to minimize the risk of a team getting infected with the virus. It could prevent a repeat of what happened to Texas A&M. It also means not allowing players to go home for Christmas. I know. I look like Scrooge, but the alternative is very risky. It’s too good an idea which means, fuhgeddaboudit! That will never happen.

In fact, the CFP has already announced that all possibilities are covered if a team is unable to compete. If one of the semi-finalists cannot play, he will forfeit and his opponent will receive a pass to the final. If both teams in a semi-final match cannot play, the champion will be the winner of the other semi-final. If three semi-finalists cannot play, the only team available will be declared the national champion. Finally, if one finalist can play but the other cannot, the team that can be declared the national champion and if neither of the finalists can play on the national championship match date of January 10 or on a postponed date. , it is a “no decision”. The CFP allowed some flexibility so that the finals are played until January 14, 2022. They have everything planned. Ugh!

Wake Forest was waiting to see if another team couldn’t play in another bowl and compete with this school. In the end, Rutgers (5-7) was chosen as a replacement. Who knows the last time Rutgers trained? My vote was to bring back Nebraska (3-9), whose fans will travel in droves and we know they will give Wake Forest a great game, to ceremoniously lose by a score or less, as they did in eight losses this year.

In another development, Alabama assistant coaches Bill O’Brien and Doug Marrone both tested positive for COVID-19. It remains to be seen whether the virus has spread to other members of the team. Miami has also announced that it is on COVID protocol and will delay arriving in El Paso for the “Tony The Tiger” Sun Bowl until the day before the game against Washington State, scheduled for December 31. While “Tony The Tiger” is Grrrrreat, ”it remains to be seen if the game actually takes place.

◘ Sometimes, being successful in the field may not translate into a big pay rise. That’s what appears to have happened to Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell, who led the Bearcats to the playoffs and an unbeaten season. He has remained loyal to his team during their historic run and although Fickell is already making millions a year and will receive a big raise from Cincinnati if he chooses to stay, it will not come close to the numbers received by others (around $ 10 million per year). Fickel has minimal options. Maybe the NFL, if Cincinnati wins the (highly questionable) CFP? Either way, Fickel handled it professionally and with class. Compare that to Brian Kelly at Notre Dame, who left the Irish while still vying for the CFP to sign with LSU for $ 100million. Of course, he did the same in Cincinnati in 2009 when he was their head coach and left for his “dream job” at Notre Dame, sacrificing a chance to coach the Bearcats at the Sugar Bowl.

The only way to stop this coaching carousel every year is to move the signing period from December to January. This would allow coaches to complete the year in their respective schools. But because recruiting is so important, teams regularly contact coaches from other schools to sign them on and give them enough time to secure a recruiting class at the new address. So what Kelly and others have been doing this year (Lincoln Riley, Mario Cristobal, etc.) as well as in the past is nothing new. This is simply not true.

Did you watch the boxing show last weekend between former NFL running back Frank Gore and former NBA goalie Deron Williams at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida? Williams won the four-round fight by split decision, but guess who was in the stands, rooting for Gore? Yes, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who last coached Gore seven years ago with the San Francisco 49ers. Harbaugh had previously called Gore “my all-time favorite player”. This is true loyalty. Interestingly, Harbaugh was booed by locals when his face was shown on the big screen.

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