Against All Odds, College Football Fought to Finish
Tonight, the Alabama Crimson Tide closes the 2020 college football season with the Ohio State Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff National Championship game. It shouldn't be lost on those of us tuning in tonight that just a few months ago this game didn't seem possible.
In fact, five months ago to the day, August 11, 2020, the Big 10 cancelled the college football season for its conference altogether.
A week later, the SEC announced it would take on a 10-game conference only football schedule.
With varying degrees of COVID-19 protocols among the football conferences, doubt permeated. Just how in the world could we play football without fans, nearly 100-man rosters quarantining and still dealing with classes and virtually no out of conference play?
Even when the season started, doubt persisted.
But doubt eventually lost.
Players fought for their right to play. As the regular season got under way, the Big 10 and PAC-12 conferences backtracked, making 8-game conference only schedules.
Leaders such as Nick Saban argued that players were inevitably safer in their football facilities.
Fast forward to today and college football is exactly where it wanted it to be: in Miami to crown a national champion. It was bumpy, sure. The New York Times reported in December there had been more than 6,600 cases of coronavirus in college football, no deaths at the Division 1-FBS level. In total, 139 regular-season games were cancelled. Of the 44 Bowl games ready to go for the postseason, 19 were cancelled.
It was far from easy, and the situation is still mightily divisive for making it this far.
And while that’s understandable, safety is paramount in this sport, the people involved, from top to bottom, wanted it. And those involved in bringing fans football each week delivered. The 2020 season wasn’t without its flaws, but it’s one fans will never forget, for better or worse
We’re here. Players, coaches and fans fought for every yard. One final kickoff awaits.
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