Confused yet? Thanksgiving restart? Wait, what? It's time to take a step back and let the B1G's return-to-play decision play out
MINNEAPOLIS — Go outside. Take a walk. Breathe some fresh air.
OK. You good?
Now take a step back. Raise your eyes up from the smartphone screen and look around. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. This great country of ours appears intent upon ripping itself apart at the seams. Chaos abounds.
The world doesn’t seem to make much sense right now. And if you’re a college football fan looking for some sense of normalcy, something to rally around, trying to draw sensible conclusions another dizzying day of Big Ten headlines about reversing course and playing sometime around Thanksgiving and this plan and that plan and the circus that has been Kevin Warren’s handling of this debacle — deep breath — here’s some unsolicited advice.
Trying to digest all this is like drinking Chipotle’s hot salsa from a firehose. That’s a reflection not just of sports fandom but of society. While we try to wrap our heads around the latest developments, five more come to light.
One of them in this story, the Big Ten’s floating of a Turkey Day start, is borderline ridiculous. We couldn’t start in late September like the rest of college football because of COVID-related “uncertainty” — Warren’s favorite buzzword as B1G commissioner — and the decision “won’t be revisited,” but now we can get going while 3 other Power 5 leagues are wrapping up?
It’d give more of a gap between the 2020 and 2021 seasons, but that’s about the only semblance of rational thinking with this idea.
Apparently there are athletic directors, coaches and presidents in the conference who feel the same way. According to multiple national reporters, the Thanksgiving track is just one idea and the league is still leaning toward winter or spring, and it’s still early in the process.
I can confirm the Big Ten is possibly looking at starting the season the weekend after Thanksgiving week, per a source. But just a possibility at this point. January-ish start still the focus for now. @jaypo1961 first reported the Nov. possibility.
— Nicole Auerbach 😷 (@NicoleAuerbach) August 28, 2020
The FDA’s approval of the rapid Abbott Laboratories COVID-19 test that costs $5 and takes just 15 minutes to deliver a result could be a game-changer. Testing and contact tracing have long been brought up as barriers to the B1G getting its 2020 campaign off the ground.
Think about where we’re at though. On Aug. 5, we had a schedule. Six days later, we didn’t. Now the calendar hasn’t even turned to September and we’ve got all kinds of ideas now being proposed and promptly reported thanks to anonymous sources from the conference and its schools.
One of them told national reporter Pat Forde the situation is a “circus.”
One source described the situation as “a circus,” and said some coaches won’t listen to their presidents. “Everyone is pushing their own interests.”
— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) August 28, 2020
You think so?
A big part of it is the news cycle. Does anyone else long for the days when reporting came every 12-24 hours from organizations whose skin in the game included a state-of-the-art printing press? In between, newspaper reporters spent the time gathering facts and getting to the bottom of stories, providing invaluable context.
Today, we get snippets. A quote here, a source there, a tweet somewhere else. It can be mind-numbing trying to piece it all together.
But whether it’s a high-profile news story or a winding sports conundrum like that of the B1G, it’s OK to reserve judgment until we have all the facts. It’s why players and their parents have been clamoring for data that led to the fall postponement, even to the point of legal action.
It’s also OK to be confused as heck.
From what we know, there are 3 options under consideration: an 8-game season starting in the first week of January, a 10-game slate beginning closer to Thanksgiving, and a post-Super Bowl start featuring 8 total games.
Forde reports coaches, ADs and presidents aren’t necessarily on the same page as these discussions progress. But at least they’re all talking together — which wasn’t the case earlier this month.
Healthy, productive conflict often brings about the greatest result.
The hope here is we’ll know what that is soon enough. Till then, it’s an August weekend. Handle your business, enjoy your family, kick back, have a cocktail, pray for change, help out a neighbor.
And, as hard as it is, just be patient.