Dooley: Difficult to see college football season working amid COVID-19

Pat Dooley
Gator Sports
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The Big Ten logo is displayed on the field. [Associated Press]

Published: August 5, 2020

Who would have thought this?

Who would have thought — even as sports shut down back in March — that we would be here?

Who would have thought that we would not be talking about the best players in college football, but instead about which ones might opt out of a season?

Remember all of those times that national media members who don't understand college football would demand that a potential high draft pick clock out of his season to get ready for the pros? Now, it's not because of injury, but because of a virus.

It doesn't look good for a college football season today. It might look better tomorrow. It might look worse Friday. 

That's what we're dealing with -- perhaps the most fluid sports story in the history of sports stories.

On Wednesday morning, UConn called it quits on 2020 and within minutes the Big Ten announced its schedule. And then more than a thousand of its players demanded third-party testing. And then the NCAA issued a list of rules that sports has to adhere to, including a hotline to report schools that are not doing the right thing. And it announced that if 50 percent of a sport in its division cancels the season, there will be no championships.

And this was all before noon.

I know I probably don't have these in the right order, but they came fast and furious. 

It makes it difficult to be an optimist even when Power 5 schools around the country are announcing zero positive tests. Basically, a lot of schools are in a bubble of their own, but that bubble will break once students start flooding the campuses.

Connecticut dropping its season was hardly the sound of a shoe dropping. More like a sock. The program was hemorrhaging money and will hardly be missed. Rutgers announced it is going forward, but could easily drop out.

They are not the reason for pessimism.

The reason is that it is difficult to see it working.

It may get started with the Big Ten and ACC cranking up the first weekend in September. The biggest question is whether or not the SEC will ever get a chance to get a game in. 

And there is also this — how many teams will finish? How many teams will throw in the towel after a 1-5 start?

This is the time of year when you usually start to feel all tingly inside. You can smell football in the air. Now, it's a lot more difficult with a mask on.

It's August.

We don't know the Florida schedule.

Who would have thought it?

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at

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