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Anchor Drop, July 11, 2020: Yet Another Domino Falls

The Pac-12, too, is going conference-only.

Wisconsin v Oregon State Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Good morning.

Optional Musical Accompaniment

On Thursday it was the Big Ten; on Friday, it was the Pac-12.

Slowly but surely, the Power 5 conferences are moving toward each playing their own conference members and that’s it. The SEC is even discussing this possibility, and there are rumors that the ACC is closing in on this as well, though another rumor persists that the four intra-state, inter-conference rivalries between the ACC and SEC would like to play each other this season.

Now, of course, many people are suggesting that this is simply the slow state of denial before the season is ultimately called off entirely. I remain convinced that (and this is controversial) sports leagues will continue to play unless one of three things is true:

  1. It is no longer profitable to do so, or in some cases, particularly with smaller conferences, the league will lose more money by playing than it will by not playing.
  2. Players refuse to play because of safety concerns.
  3. A governmental authority bars them from playing.

(For the record, in March, #2 may have been true if you read between the lines, and the testing regimen that would have been necessary to ensure some degree of safety simply didn’t exist, and #3 was also true thanks to restrictions on large gatherings.)

Anyway, as I wrote yesterday, power conference canceling non-conference games is related to #1 up there. They may say it’s about ensuring safety protocols are met, but it’s really about not wanting to pay out a guarantee to a G5 or FCS opponent when they won’t make it back.

#2 might still happen, though at least in the pros, collective bargaining means that this isn’t much of a risk (the players have, after all, agreed to the conditions under which they will resume playing, or start playing in MLB’s case.)

My opinion is that for college football to be shut down completely, then, will require #3. That might come in the form of a direct order, that might come in the form of travel restrictions (such as mandatory quarantines on travelers arriving from out of state), or it might come in the form of restrictions on gatherings that would not allow two football teams to exist in the same stadium.

Whatever it is, though, the idea that power conferences are going to completely shut down football “because it’s the right thing to do,” as some have suggested, flies in the face of reality. Remember: in spite of the obvious danger, bars were opened as long as state governments allowed them to be open; the same is true of any profit-seeking business. Expecting the SEC to leave millions of dollars on the table because of “optics” is probably expecting too much. (This is not an argument for whether they should, mind you, but my opinion is that the only way this all gets called off is if a higher authority does it.)

Anyway, we have a bunch of Spring Sports Academic Honorees!

Greg Arias points out that the Vanderbilt offense must improve drastically in 2020, which, duh.

Chris Lee and Trey Wallace talked about the move toward conference-only schedules, including some discussion of backing out of game contracts with Troy that sounds as though they read my post yesterday.

And in other news, the NHL finalized its restart plans yesterday.

Actual Sports on TV

(All times CT)

  • 6:25 AM: Norwich City v. West Ham United (NBC Sports)
  • 8:25 AM: Derby County v. Brentford (ESPN+)
  • 8:55 AM: Liverpool FC v. Burnley (NBC Sports)
  • 10:00 AM: Lazio v. Sassuolo (ESPN+)
  • 11:00 AM: East Tennessee State at Vanderbilt (SEC Network) (lol why)
  • 11:30 AM: Sheffield United v. Chelsea (NBC)
  • 12:00 PM: Workday Charity Open, Round 3 (Golf Channel)
  • 12:15 PM: Brescia v. AS Roma (ESPN+)
  • 2:00 PM: Brighton & Hove Albion v. Manchester City (NBC Sports)
  • 2:00 PM: Workday Charity Open, Round 3 (CBS)
  • 2:30 PM: Juventus v. Atalanta (ESPN+)
  • 3:00 PM: Real Monarchs SLC v. San Diego Loyal SC (ESPN+)
  • 6:00 PM: Indy Eleven v. Saint Louis FC (ESPN+)
  • 6:30 PM: Tampa Bay Rowdies v. Atlanta United FC 2 (ESPN+)
  • 7:00 PM: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC v. New Mexico United (ESPN+)
  • 7:00 PM: New York Red Bulls v. Atlanta United FC (FOX)
  • 8:30 PM: El Paso Locomotive FC v. Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (ESPN+)
  • 9:00 PM: Phoenix Rising FC v. LA Galaxy II (ESPN+)
  • 9:30 PM: FC Cincinnati v. Columbus Crew (FS1)