My coffee mug was full, the dog had been walked and the clock was approaching 8 a.m., but my laptop was still tucked away in its case in the corner. Saturday signified the first major date on the college football calendar, but for the first time in seven years, I was preparing for a weekend in the fall without the B1G.

I’ve known this day was coming for over three weeks now, but it finally hit me on Saturday morning — the B1G isn’t playing football this fall. When it started to sink in, I felt like a toddler who had run full speed into a sliding glass door, mostly shocked, a little hurt and trying to hide my tears from the rest of the world.

Reality started diving in deeper and deeper with every sip of a caffeine-loaded breakfast blend. As hard as I try, I’m still not fully comprehending the situation nearly a month after commissioner Kevin Warren made the announcement on Aug. 11 to postpone the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The B1G really isn’t playing football this fall.

Who knew denial could last this long?

Saturday felt…weird. Yes, there have been other reminders over the past few days that the B1G decided to postpone the football season. Twitter forgot to update its algorithm, reminding us of two games that were penciled in for Thursday, Sept. 3 — the first being FAU vs. Minnesota under the original 2020 schedule and the second a matchup between Ohio State and Illinois in the B1G’s revised, conference-only slate. Friday, Sept. 4 was dedicated to a B1G clash between Indiana and Wisconsin in Madison.

Of course I thought about missing those games earlier in the week, but it was also different. Those games weren’t on Saturday, the holiest day of the week to worshipers of the collegiate pigskin. The pain was a little more noticeable on Saturday.

The B1G really isn’t playing this fall.

My wife and I decided to get out of the house for a little bit in the morning, taking the dog on his second walk before 11 a.m. The football gods teased us. It was a beautiful 74-degree morning (according to my trusty weather app), with puffy white clouds dotting the sky and a refreshing breeze swirling, reminding us that autumn is arriving. As soon as we walked outside, we looked at each other and said “football weather,” in unison.

We played the SEC on CBS theme song and a handful of tracks from College GameDay on YouTube while getting in an extra 1.5 miles. I’m not kidding.

By the time we returned, GameDay was on television, providing that sense of normalcy that we’re so accustomed to having every Saturday in the fall. That quickly vanished when the show ended and Rece Davis, Desmond Howard, David Pollack, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit were no longer arguing about College Football Playoff picks, conference champions or Heisman Trophy frontrunners.

A quick glance at the ESPN app reminded me that six college football games were being played on Saturday. Yet none of the schools listed on the schedule hail from the conference I cover for a living. Cue the toddler running into the sliding glass door again.

The B1G really isn’t playing this fall.

As difficult as Saturday was for B1G players, coaches, staff, fans, alumni and anyone else close to the conference, I fear it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Sept. 5 was the appetizer to the college football season. The next two weeks will serve as a sampler platter before we’re welcomed to the all-you-can-eat buffet.

But next week, assuming there’s no issues with COVID-19 before then, starts conference play in the ACC. Syracuse travels to No. 18 North Carolina. Duke takes on one-year league member No. 10 Notre Dame. Top-ranked Clemson is in action on the road against Wake Forest, the site of GameDay’s first road trip in 2020.

Big 12 ranked squads No. 5 Oklahoma (vs. Missouri State), No. 14 Texas (vs. UTEP), No. 15 Oklahoma State (vs. Tulsa) and No. 23 Iowa State (Louisiana) are all in action on Sept. 12, as well. Then, on Sept. 26, the SEC joins the college football party.

Teams from all six conferences still moving forward with football will have played before the calendar turns to October. Meanwhile, everyone in the B1G is just hoping that football returns before the end of September…2021.

When Saturday’s slate of games wrapped up with Memphis defeating Arkansas State 37-24 and UTEP closing out Stephen F. Austin 24-14, it still didn’t feel real. I still carry a sense of disbelief knowing six leagues have been able to navigate the pandemic and continue on with a football season. NFL teams will be having a season in nine B1G states. High school football is moving forward in eight. Believe it or not, college football will be played in five.

Meanwhile, one of the wealthiest athletic conferences in the nation threw in the towel six weeks before it was necessary.

No matter how many times I say it, I still don’t really believe it. Even after living through a full Saturday without covering a league I’ve been writing about for over seven years, it doesn’t seem real. I’m not sure when — or if — it ever will.

The B1G really isn’t playing this fall.