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zigbeeLast week in July is big for news about this upcoming season
#1
With the spiking covid19 numbers this coming week will maybe give some insight into IF the NCAA D I football season will move forward or not.  Decreasing numbers would help.
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#2
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First MSU and now Rutgers
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#3
Gonna happen, and few will be sick
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#4
With the ACC likely to make a decision this week about its scheduling model and a possible season start date, and the Big 12 and SEC likely not too far behind, here are the most pressing questions surrounding the college football season.
What does MLB's Miami Marlins outbreak mean for CFB?
While it clearly shows the challenge of playing a sport outside of a bubble -- even in a sport where athletes can naturally socially distance, unlike football -- it hasn't changed the perspective of college football power brokers just yet.
"We watch everything that's going on around us, and I think we always said that if we're able to go forward and play sports throughout the year, there will be disruptions," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told ESPN. "I think this is a good example of that."
Where does testing stand?
If college football has any shot at playing in the fall, the testing component might be the biggest key. The NCAA issued testing guidelines that recommend testing athletes and coaches 72 hours before games, but the Power 5 conferences are expected to have their own guidelines and testing procedures -- and will expect all opponents to adhere to the same testing guidelines. It remains unclear how often schools will test once practice begins Aug. 7, but NCAA guidelines recommend weekly testing for any high contact-risk sport during the preseason, regular season and postseason.
Schools have 10- to 14-day quarantine and contact tracing procedures in place for anyone who tests positive, but there remain large unknowns, including: How many positive tests are too many to play a game? If someone starts showing symptoms in the 72 hours between testing and the game, whom does contract tracing identify as those needing to quarantine? If someone tests positive after playing in a game, who would be considered a close contact and in need of quarantine? The NCAA used CDC guidelines to note that anyone with high risk of exposure -- including teammates and opponents -- would need to quarantine for 14 days. Among those considered high risk: An individual who was within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes; someone who has direct physical contact or was touched by respiratory droplets from an infected person.

[*]If a coach tests positive, a school can replace him temporarily with a graduate assistant or analyst under NCAA rules allowing for extenuating circumstances. Power 5 schools and the American Athletic Conference feel confident they have the required capabilities and funds to test as frequently as they need to. Perhaps the largest remaining concern is turnaround time -- especially for those schools that do not have hospitals or medical schools on their campuses. Ideally, a rapid test would be available to allow testing to happen as close to game time as possible. But the rapid tests currently on the market are simply not reliable enough to use. Commissioners remain hopeful there will be advancements made in testing that allow them to close the current 72-hour window, but until that happens, they will go with PCR tests. Game officials are also expected to undergo testing weekly, but specific testing guidelines for any other personnel working the game remain unclear at this time.
The biggest concerns are how frequently the testing happens and what to do when there are positive cases. Schools across the country have had to stop workouts because they have had too many positives. Michigan State just had its entire team quarantine or isolate for 14 days after a second staff member and player tested positive. If that happens during the season, the potential is there for two to three games to be canceled or postponed.
What will practice look like?
In a sport as physical as football, practicing in the middle of a pandemic is uncharted territory for coaches and players. The enhanced summer access period began late last week, and allows for walk-throughs with a football for two weeks before most teams start fall practice on Aug. 7.
NCAA guidelines encourage the use of masks or facial coverings, and keeping players in specific groups to help mitigate the possible spread. Florida State, for example, will only allow physical contact for a maximum of 15 minutes over the next two weeks. North Carolina coach Mack Brown and his staff will use sticks to stay 6 feet apart from players. Coaches across the country will wear face shields. Some will use electronic whistles.
But there is no uniform way schools are handling practices. Some have plans to work with their first and third teams at one time, and their second- and fourth-teams at a different time. Some have plans to keep quarterbacks and offensive linemen in separate practice groups in order to avoid entire personnel groups getting sick. But beyond what practice looks like, the biggest unknown might be this: If testing is only done weekly, could physical, contact practices mean possible spread of the virus?
Steven King/Icon Sportswire
What will schedules look like?
We can use the proposed Pac-12 plan as a possible road map. The Pac-12 and Big Ten have already decided to go to a conference-only schedule, while the ACC, Big 12 and SEC are weighing their options. According to sources, the Pac-12 plans to play a 10-game league schedule that begins Sept. 19 and has built-in bye weeks in case there are games that cannot be played as scheduled. There also is flexibility on the date of the conference championship game. The plan still needs approval from league presidents but it would feature five division games and five crossover games. Big Ten athletics directors are still determining what their conference-only schedules will look like.
Meanwhile the ACC, Big 12 and SEC have looked at models that feature conference schedules plus one nonconference game, something that would allow all three leagues to keep some of their biggest matchups -- including ACC/SEC rivalry games, Auburn-North Carolina (Sept. 12), LSU-Texas (Sept. 12) and Oklahoma-Tennessee (Sept. 12). As for Notre Dame, the Irish will figure into the ACC scheduling model (they already have six scheduled games), somehow. One proposal has the ACC moving to a 10-game conference schedule plus one nonconference game, with Notre Dame playing a full ACC schedule. Notre Dame has nine games currently scheduled, including Navy in the opener and Arkansas on Sept. 12.
It is also important to keep in mind that the SEC and ACC play eight conference games, compared to nine for the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12. So the largest discussions in the SEC and ACC center around how many conference games they should play.
Will the season start on time?
Nobody truly knows. At the very minimum, the Pac-12 will not, as it has already announced it will push back the start to its conference-only season. But any decisions conferences announce now do not guarantee the season will start on time, or that the schedules as they are laid out will be played in their entirety, if at all.
As any administrator will tell you, the coronavirus will dictate whether it is safe enough to start. And they all emphasize they will not play unless they can do so safely and mitigate the risks. That means presidents, chancellors, commissioners, athletic directors and coaches will lean on the advice of their respective medical advisory groups to make those decisions. One more thing to consider: The season might start on time, but then have to be halted should positive cases spread across teams.
The Pac-12, along with the Big Ten, has moved to a conference-only schedule for 2020. The ACC, Big 12 and SEC are all expected to make a decision on the upcoming season soon. Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports
What is the possible College Football Playoff impact?
College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock has steadfastly said the CFP "will be ready for whatever comes down," without going into further details on what that could mean for the way the selection committee evaluates teams or whether it is feasible to push the entire playoff back should there be significant delays to the season. Schedule evaluation is always a critical component, and so are marquee nonconference games.
Now that the Pac-12 and Big Ten are going conference-only, how does that evaluation change? If the Big 12, ACC and SEC go with models that allow them to play a nonconference game, does that give them an advantage in the all-important strength of schedule factor? "This is why the committee has 13 football experts," Hancock told ESPN earlier this month. "Their task is to select the best four teams based on play on the field and schedules that conferences establish."
Indeed, the conference commissioners and Jack Swarbrick set the playoff protocol and will more than likely determine the number of games that need to be played to qualify for the four-team playoff once all leagues come up with scheduling models. But even then, we might not have an answer to this question until we are in season -- What if the teams in the hunt for the playoff have played a different number of games because of cancellations due to the virus?
As for the games themselves, they remain on as scheduled, including the national championship game in Miami on Jan.11. But as Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl CEO Gary Stokan said, "We're adaptable as well. If we need to push back and I think Bill has said this, if they need to push back the championship game, they and Florida have had those conversations, and they remain flexible to do that as well."
What is the impact to bowl season?
Remains to be seen. All bowl games are on as scheduled, and if teams are able to play a minimum of 10 games, those that finish .500 would remain eligible under current rules. Only one change has been made so far: Teams will be allowed to count two FCS opponents toward bowl eligibility. This will not impact Power 5 schools that more than likely will not have multiple FCS opponents on their schedules, but might help others who need to fill out their current schedules because they have lost games. Stokan added that all Football Bowl Association directors remain flexible on when their games can be played.
Is there any chance at a spring season?
There's always a chance! But really, only as a last resort. There is a reason the Power 5 are preparing schedules for a fall season. Moving the season to the spring brings its own set of uncertainties to say the least. Among the biggest: Nobody knows whether it will be safer to play in January as opposed to October. As Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told ESPN earlier this month, "I've always considered it a viable option, but it's certainly not first choice and probably not second choice, either. I think it would be a really big leap to say, 'OK, we're going to shut it down in the fall, and move it all to the spring, because there isn't a whole lot of certainty in the spring, either. Having said that, I don't consider it an infeasible option. I just wouldn't call it first-choice."
The SEC and Big Ten have opposed a spring season, although Big 12 coach Lincoln Riley has said he would have no issues playing in the spring. But no matter the opinion about when to play, one thing is certain: In order for athletics departments to survive financially, the powers-that-be must figure out how to safely play the 2020 season.
What would the NFL do if college football moved to spring?
As of right now, not much. The NFL has not given any indication it would move the Senior Bowl (Jan. 30) or the NFL Combine (February), although there is a chance the draft could move back a few weeks depending on when the college season starts. The NFL is waiting to see what happens with the college season before making any decisions. If the NFL does not move its important draft events, seniors and draft eligible juniors will have to decide whether to skip their last collegiate season to prepare for the NFL.
Will fans be allowed to attend?

Depends on where you live. Texas, for example, is going ahead with plans to have its stadium at 50% capacity. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said no fans will be allowed at sporting events in the state in the fall. Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said the school is seeking further guidance from the governor's office.
Athletic directors are modeling out various scenarios for capacity, including 25 and 50%, and have polled season-ticket holders about whether they would attend games. If capacity is limited, athletic directors would have to decide which games season-ticket holders can attend. In addition, operations staff have worked on how seating would look in reduced-capacity stadiums (aisles clear, alternate rows), how to ensure social distancing at tailgate lots, and adding extra entry gates to avoid long lines and crowds gathering.
All those models might be for naught, though. Whether fans are allowed to attend ultimately depends on decisions from state, local and university authorities.
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#5
The 2020 college football season, if there is one, is going to be anything but normal due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Big Ten fans already know that their teams will not be playing conference games, after the Big Ten announced a conference-only schedule in early July. What that schedule looks like is anyone's guess as the Big Ten is yet to release any details on the schedule.
Another major topic is what it will look like inside stadiums around the country this fall. Assuming games can be played, some programs may choose to have fans in the stands, depending on city and state ordinances, while others may go with an empty stadium approach for health and safety reasons.
On Tuesday, Ohio State provided some form of clarity on what could be done at Ohio Stadium this fall. If there are games this year, it will certainly have a different feel. In an email to season ticket holders, the Buckeye athletic department announced that there will be no more than 20 percent stadium capacity at the Horseshoe with required masks, as well as no tailgating and the cancelation of other normalities at Scarlet and Gray football games.
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#6
It doesn't happen often, but when you've been around college football as long as veteran insider Phil Steele, it's bound to occur sooner or later. Steele tabbed Nebraska as the nation's most-improved team last summer prior to the Huskers' spiral toward another losing season in Year 2 under [b]Scott Frost[/b].
Steele says he won't make the same mistake again, but believes Nebraska is still a team worthy of mention should the contender in the Big Ten West catch a break or two on its challenging slate.
"If [b]Adrian Martinez[/b] (stays healthy and gets better) — we have a lot of ifs here — if, if, if, they can (do) something," Steele said this summer on radio. "But I'm going to wait to see it on the field this year."

According to Steele, college football's national champion will come this season out of the Big Ten, a conference he consider to be one of the nation's most complete. His robust 350-page full-color season preview is available exclusively at Books-A-Million and Barnes & Nobles book stores or online at PhilSteele.com.
Known as "the book experts can't do without," Steele's magazine is celebrating its 26th anniversary as one of the most accurate preseason previews in the country.
Here are his projections for the Big Ten's order of finish and a thought for each team:
BIG TEN WEST
[Image: 9827977.png?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offs...height=320](Photo: Getty)
T7. Purdue
[b]What 247Sports says[/b]: The Boilermakers are hoping for a bounce-back campaign following an injury-plagued 2019 campaign. Rondale Moore is a versatile athlete and likely first-round pick, so getting him the football as many times a game as possible is essential for Purdue coach Jeff Brohm and what he hopes is a revitalized attack offensively.
T7. Illinois
[b]What 247Sports says[/b]: The Fighting Illini have experience returning in several spots, including quarterback, and got a taste of success last fall after getting to a bowl game. Could Lovie Smith's program be a group on the rise or do we see the Illini fall victim to a challenging slate this season?

T5. NEBRASKA
[Image: 9451062.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offs...height=320](Photo: Bruce Thorson, USA TODAY Sports)
[b]Steele's take from a radio appearance in July[/b]: "I'm going to say this — I had Nebraska as my (projected) most improved team in the country last (preseason). And if you go back and look at my last 15 most improved teams in the country, they all showed a lot of improvement. I'm a little bitter at Nebraska for disappointing me last year. But one of the main reasons why was probably quarterback play.
"Remember, two years ago, Adrian Martinez was dynamic. He had a great season as a freshman. You were like, 'Wow. He can do that as a freshman, what's he going to be like as a sophomore?' And then he got banged up and he was nowhere near what he was the previous year. The defense — they haven't been the Blackshirt defense for ages, and they're not going to be this year. They've only got five starters back. The potential's there for Nebraska, but they're playing in a pretty tough West. And I was burned last year, so I was a little gun shy with the Huskers this year."

T3. NORTHWESTERN
[Image: 3135712.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offs...height=320](Photo: Caylor Arnold, 247Sports)
[b]247Sports Director of Scouting Barton Simmons on the Wildcats[/b]: "Thereâ€s a real opportunity this year for Northwestern to surprise a lot of people. Pat Fitzgeraldâ€s defense was as good as ever last season, it was the offense that was embarrassing. With a competent transfer quarterback in Peyton Ramsey, a new offensive coordinator in Mike Bajakian and a culture in place to handle the adversity of 2020, this team is better positioned than anyone is giving it credit for."

T3. MINNESOTA
[Image: 9523146.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offs...height=320](Photo: USA TODAY Sports)
[b]What 247Sports says about the Gophers[/b]: With Tanner Morgan back under center and several weapons on the outside playing behind a veteran offensive line, there's no reason Minnesota shouldn't once again be a top contender in the Big Ten West against the likes of Wisconsin and Iowa.

2. IOWA
[Image: 9562365.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offs...height=320](Photo: Jeffrey Becker, USA TODAY Sports)
[b]Steele's take on the Hawkeyes, via ESPN 103.7 and 1450 earlier this month[/b]: "They're a pretty talented team. And (head) coach (Kirk) Ferentz was pleased with both (Spencer) Petras and (Alex) Padilla (at quarterback). Petras did a good job in the bowl prep. He's mature, committed and a natural leader. So they're going to be OK at the quarterback position and they've got a lot of talent. And when you look at Iowa, one thing that stands out — last year, their three losses (were by) seven, five, two points. That means you're basically three plays away from being undefeated last year. They were really good."

1. WISCONSIN
[Image: 4787380.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offs...height=320](Photo: USA TODAY Sports)
[b]What 247Sports says via Badger247[/b]: "Inside Steele's rankings, Wisconsin comes in behind Ohio State, who took the very top spot at No. 1 (in preseason Top 25), as well as Penn State, who came in at No. 10. Where Steele's rankings are consistent with others is in the fact that the Badgers are the highest ranked team from the Big Ten West, presumably, indicating that Steele foresees a trip to the conference championship in the Badgers' 2020 future. But it won't necessarily be a an easy road to travel. Also ranking in Steele's Top 25 were No. 23 Iowa and No. 15 Michigan, both of which the Badgers are slated to cross over with this season."

BIG TEN EAST
[Image: 9553177.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offs...height=320](Photo: Bobby Deren, 247Sports)
7. Rutgers
[b]What 247Sports says[/b]: Can the Scarlet Knights get to a bowl game during Schiano's first season? Ok, that's asking too much, but the program could certainly show positive signs with a more disciplined approach and grittiness at the line of scrimmage — a staple of Schiano-coached teams. The final half of the schedule is brutal coming down the stretch, one of the toughest five-week marks in the Power 5 ranks.

6. MICHIGAN STATE
[Image: 9756621.JPG?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offs...height=320](Photo: Michigan State Athletics)
[b]What Steele says about the Spartans[/b]: "They go from No. 8 on my Experience Chart to No. 102 and maybe lower than that with the coaching change. This figures to be a rough year and I will call for the first losing one since 2016."

5. MARYLAND
[Image: 9417944.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offs...height=320](Photo: Noah K. Murray, Getty)
[b]What Steele says about the Terps[/b]: "Maryland is just No. 114 on my Experience Chart but is in Year 2 of (Mike) Locksley and has a solid offensive line and improved quarterback play. This team will be more stable and competitive while improving their win total. They will need an upset or two to get to a bowl."

4. INDIANA
[Image: 9453818.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offs...height=320](Photo: Mike Carter, USA TODAY Sports)
[b]What Steele says about the Hoosiers[/b]: "I will call for Indiana to finally breakthrough and knock off a big boy and to win their first bowl game since 1991."
[b]What 247Sports says[/b]: Anyone else excited for that Big Ten opener pitting the Hoosiers and Badgers from Madison? That's a huge game for both teams, an early chance to see where both teams are coming out of an unprecedented offseason. As long as that one is still on schedule, it'll mark a great barometer for Indiana, a program on the come up under Tom Allen it appears.

3. MICHIGAN
[Image: 9845160.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offs...height=320](Photo: Rick Osentoski, USA TODAY Sports)
[b]What Steele says about the Wolverines[/b]: "I actually picked Michigan last year to (win the Big Ten) since Ohio State had a new head coach and quarterback and Michigan had the big game at home. Oops! Michigan goes from No. 43 on my Experience Chart to No. 130. It looks like the window closed."
[b]What 247Sports says[/b]: There's a chance Michigan could be better at quarterback this season with the combo of Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton, two guys that offensive coordinator Josh Gattis is extremely high on.

2. PENN STATE
[Image: 9587041.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offs...height=320](Photo: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports)
[b]What Steele says about the Nittany Lions[/b]: "Last year Penn State was just No. 123 on my Experience Chart but arrived a year early, even giving Ohio State its toughest conference game in Columbus. This year they move up to No. 44 on my Exp. Chart and could be (James) Franklin's best team yet."

1. OHIO STATE
[Image: 9693171.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offs...height=320](Photo: Icon Sportswire, Getty)
[b]What Steele says about the Buckeyes[/b]: "While they lose the normal boatload of players to the NFL (including Chase Young), the Buckeyes return (Justin) Fields and a ton of talent. Ohio State will be favored in every game and are my pick to win it all this year."
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#7
They say that officials donâ€t decide outcomes in sports. But if you ask fans of Ohio State football, you might get a different thought process.  
During this yearâ€s Fiesta Bowl — a semifinal game of last yearâ€s College Football Playoff — Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross fumbled near the sideline in the middle of the third quarter as Ohio State cornerback [b]Jeff Okudah[/b] stripped the ball out. But instead of a game-changing scoop and score, which would've given the Buckeyes a 23-21 lead, the fumble was overturned upon review after officials determined Ross never had full control of the football. Itâ€s a call that the Buckeyes clearly still do not agree with.
On Tuesday, members of Clemsonâ€s football team posted a TikTok dancing video that surfaced on Twitter. Okudah quote tweeted the video saying, “Iâ€ll never forgive those referees.”

After the fumble was overturned and Clemson — which had a 21-16 lead at the time — maintained possession, things never improved for the Buckeyes. The Tigers escaped with a 29-23 win and went on to play for the College Football Playoff Championship.
In a back and forth game that was one of the best semifinal contests from a competitive standpoint in Playoff history, ESPN college football analyst Reece Davis commented on the physicality from both unbeaten teams.
“Itâ€s one of the hardest-hitting games I remember seeing from the sideline,” Davis said. “There was some vicious hits. Clean game for the most part, but I think the one thing that struck me about this after watching all the offense and high-scoring games we have in college football, this felt old-school. And it felt good.”

Ohio State coach Ryan Day tried to put a finger on the momentum swings after his team's 19-game winning streak came to an end.
“I think that itâ€s a range of emotions, because even though those things were happening, we were overcoming it,” Day said. “We just kept fighting and kept playing. It was like, Donâ€t worry about those; just keep playing. I think when we look back on it, it is going to be overwhelming. Those game-altering plays that happen in a game, you need those things to go beat a team like Clemson where you're playing in a Semifinal game. You need those one or two plays. Then to miss a couple of them, that hurts you.
“Again, a range of emotions. Weâ€ll rest on it. Watch the film, and kind of go from there.”
After the conclusion of the college football season, Okudah went on to be drafted third overall by the Detroit Lions. In mid-July, Okudah signed his rookie contract with Detroit, agreeing to a four-year contract with the team. Spotrac's NFL Draft salary tracker projections $33.5 million in total salary with a $21.9 million signing bonus.
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#8
Fields is PFF's highest-graded returning QB in a clean pocket




Ohio State's passing attack was very good in 2019. While the Buckeyes had the country's fifth-ranked rushing offense, averaging 266.79 yards per game on the ground, the Scarlet and Gray put the ball in the air when it needed to and was efficient moving down the field with quarterback [b]Justin Fields[/b] spreading it around to his number of weapons.

The fact that Ohio State ranked just 36th in the nation in passing offense, 263.1 yards per game, is a little misleading. This is due to the number of early leads the Buckeyes got out to, including in some of the team's bigger games against Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan, meaning the Buckeyes didn't have to throw as much in the second half.

Fields is certainly a key player in the Scarlet and Gray's passing success. The sophomore quarterback threw for 3,273 yards and accounted for 51 total touchdowns in his first season as a college starter and was a Heisman Trophy finalist.



But it wasn't all Fields. Obviously he had good weapons around him, but the quarterback also had one of the top offensive line units in the country that kept him upright and gave him time to throw.

According to Pro Football Focus, Fields is the highest graded returning quarterback in college football with a clean pocket with a rating of 94.0. This is better than the likes of North Carolina's [b]Sam Howell[/b] (92.2), Iowa State's [b]Brock Purdy[/b] (91.0) and UCS's [b]Kedon Slovis[/b] (90.7).





This is good news for Ohio State fans. Not only do the Buckeyes have some experts' favorite for the Heisman returning, the first time [b]Ryan Day[/b] has had an incumbent quarterback since he arrived in Columbus in 2017, but the Scarlet and Gray offensive line may be even better than the group that performed so well last year. This means Fields, who is already rated the best quarterback with time to throw, should regularly have clean pockets in which to operate.


Ohio State returns three starters on the offensive line in left tackle [b]Thayer Munford[/b], center [b]Josh Myers[/b] and right guard [b]Wyatt Davis[/b]. Munford played much of last season while still recovering from back surgery and was never quite himself. Myers and Davis were both first-year starters, yet Myers was second-team All-Big Ten and Davis made the first team and was an All-American.


Joining the three returning linemen are likely redshirt sophomore [b]Nicholas Petit-Frere[/b] at right tackle and true sophomore [b]Harry Miller[/b] at left guard. Both of these players were five-star prospects coming out of high school. If Petit-Frere doesn't win the job, it will either be last year's surprise lineman, sophomore [b]Dawand Jones[/b], or true freshman [b]Paris Johnson Jr.[/b], another five-star prospect, at right tackle.

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If the offensive line lives up to the billing, Fields should have no problem putting up big numbers once again. And given the receiving weapons he will have around him in 2020, the Buckeye quarterback could be in for a monumental year come the fall.
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