Kirk Herbstreit made plenty of headlines and caught a fair share of heat when he said on ESPN Radio that he’d be “shocked” if college football or the NFL seasons were played in 2020. One of Herbie’s College GameDay colleagues is far more optimistic, though.

Rece Davis joined First Take on Monday to discuss the possibility of the 2020 college football season, as well as Herbstreit’s comments. With the coronavirus pandemic putting all sports on hold, there’s some legitimate concerns that it could affect the start of the football season.

“I’m far more optimistic and more hopeful than Kirk’s quote there at this point. I just think that’s a little bit premature at this juncture while offering the caveat that there is so much unknown out there. Kirk’s right based on everything I’ve read in terms of medical experts, in terms of the facts. I’m hopeful and optimistic that with so many people working on this that we’re going to have some kind of treatment, some type of break over the next several weeks that will make it far more feasible to have football. At this point, I’m far more optimistic. Might there be adjustments to the schedule? Might things change a little bit in terms of how the business is conducted? Sure.”

Davis’ main argument, at least right now, is that there are so many uncertainties, it’s difficult to forecast what will happen by the time August rolls around. Because of that, the ESPN College GameDay host is clinging to hope that sports will be back in action by that time.

All I’m saying is that I think we’re a little premature. Because all you have to do is look back at the recent stats and look at the number of people in New York City, which has been decimated, and six weeks ago we’re encouraging people to go to festivals. Now that seems foolish. What I’m saying is on the other side of that, it’s not just hopeful optimism and belief in the power of people to figure things out. It’s saying, let’s wait and see. We have some time. We have the best minds in the world working on (a cure). It’s not just a vaccine, it’s treatment options, how will the virus react at different times  of the year, things that we don’t know.” 

The NCAA, conference commissioners and athletic directors are already preparing for worst-case scenarios, although it’s incredibly difficult to predict what will happen if college football is canceled completely. For right now, there are ideas about delaying the start of the season, playing games without fans or eliminating a portion of the schedule to cut down on risks.

Yes, there’s still five months until the season starts, but it’s better to have a contingency plan in place. Hopefully, those plans won’t need to be enforced.