2020 College Football Season Preview: COVID-19 Edition

Story posted September 4, 2020 in CommRadio, Sports by Ethan Cook

The 2020 college football season will be remembered for many years as the one affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It took its first big hit when the MAC decided to cancel fall sports on Aug. 8 due to the growing concerns. The Mountain West followed suit on Aug. 10. Dominoes continued to fall, as both the Big Ten and the Pac-12 canceled their fall sports not long after that on Aug. 11.

However, as of Sept. 4, the possibility of a Big Ten fall season is in question once again, as Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and presidents of Big Ten universities are meeting again to discuss a return to play earlier than expected.

As of now, conferences that are still playing include the SEC, the ACC, the Big 12, the American Athletic, the Sun Belt and Conference USA. In fact, the latter two have already begun play, as UAB, South Alabama and Southern Miss each have already played a game.

But maintaining a sense of normalcy won’t be easy. One big challenge to overcome will be fan attendance, or the lack thereof. College football attendance will be extremely limited based on the guidelines set by each state.

The College Football Playoff will be full of uncertainty as well. There will be several possibilities to consider for the end of the college football season, if it even gets there. But, so far the College Football Playoff has yet to see any sort of postponement, so hopes are apparent for a “normal” college football season.

Should things continue to be as hectic as they are, there are various scenarios that could play out. If the Big Ten and the Pac-12 don’t return to action, the playoff could be limited to the remaining power conferences. Or maybe this is the opportunity that the Group of Five conferences need to have a representative included. Strong independent teams like Notre Dame or BYU could sneak in as well.

For years now, people have offered the idea of expanding the playoff to eight teams. If the season does end up truncated, this would make sense, as it would follow the path led by major leagues such as the MLB and NHL, both of which allowed more teams into its respective postseasons.

Regardless of what happens, there’s still a lot of time to go before the playoff begins in January, and we can’t be sure about much. What we can be sure of is that the 2020 college football season will be unlike any other. We will all just have to wait and see what the future holds.


Ethan Cook is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at ejc5565@psu.edu.