Update: Conferences are reportedly moving to hold conference-only seasons.
A world where sports has been impacted by the coronavirus is not the one we want, but it’s the one we find ourselves living in. COVID-19 has already stripped away the conference and NCAA basketball tournaments, as well as all spring sports, and now it threatens college football in the fall. Hundreds of collegiate athletic departments across the country are preparing for all the potential outcomes.
Florida State is no different and athletic director David Coburn is exploring multiple scenarios:
For FSU, the timing of this couldn’t be much worse. It comes at the end of a year where it had to unexpectedly fire a football coach and make a new hire, already cutting in reserves.
He estimates each ACC school will lose between $2.2 million and $2.5 million from the lack of ACC and NCAA basketball tournaments. He did not present a potential loss from the lack of a football season despite discussing the hypothetical.
Knowing how bad the loss will be each school in the conference, the ACC has already started working on ways to save money. FSU has done similarly in a separate way.
“There are current cost-saving analyses underway both here and at the ACC level. The ACC has set up a working group to explore possible conference-wide initiatives for departments and entire sports to potentially save money across the board for all teams,” Coburn said.
“These would include things such as travel, scheduling guidelines, practices. There are also potential across-the-board NCAA cost-saving changes coming and I don’t know what those would look like, but we’re anticipating those.”
That got us thinking, and one of those possible scenarios that the staff at TomahawkNation has been discussing is what a reduced football schedule featuring regional teams would look like.
What would your schedule look like? After reading our dream scenarios, throw your own in the comments.
If you had to create an 8-game schedule for FSU with just teams from the southeast region, what would it look like? You have to pick at least one G5 team, but no more than two.
Jon: I’d open with USF first because I relish the idea of beating them at every opportunity, Georgia Tech next because I want some revenge for everything they’ve ever done and the ’Noles never play the Jackets enough. Then I’d have to say Miami at the neutral site of Raymond James stadium in Tampa. Every game is a road game for them anyway. Then FSU gets to trample over FAU, because petty closure is still closure, and closure is healthy. After that Florida State travels to take on Georgia. Despite not really ever crossing paths the two fanbases don’t like each other and it’s a good opportunity to keep it that way. FSU then makes it two SEC teams in a row in a with Ole Miss in a rematch of the 2016 comeback. It’s been too long since we’ve had Lane Kiffin trash talk. Then we end it on three-in-a-row with UF like the football gods intended.
Perry: Because I just love the idea of running a Florida gauntlet, let’s put together the perfect arrangement of Florida teams. In a perfect world, I’m picking Stetson, because Tallahassee will never forget that devasting, 14-0 shutout loss in 1947. (I’m still going to break the rules, though because I want to make this a full Florida schedule, and I’m in charge, so I get to do whatever I want.)
I’m going to go with a season opener at FIU. The two schools have never met, so let’s go with an unprecedented matchup for unprecedented times. Playing on the road, at FIU especially, to open the season seems a little suspect, but think about the opportunity to showcase the new Florida State while at the football school in Miami. To build up confidence, for game two, let’s bring FAU up to Tallahassee for a chance to release some of frustration and sadness of the last two years.
For the third game of the year, let’s kick things up a notch with a matchup vs. UCF, in Tallahassee. Halfway through the season sees Florida State head near the Miami area, this time to take on Miami (FL) at the school’s tiny indoor practice field in order to fully self-isolate. For game five, the Seminoles head on the road to Raymond James to play USF, where Derrick Brooks, B.J. Daniels and Roberto Aguayo serve as captains.
Two of FSU’s final three games of the season will be against FCS competition, because those athletes deserve the shot to play a season, too (and, again, because I wouldn’t be able to put together a schedule without cheating.) Week six is a matchup against Bethune-Cookman University in a rematch of one of the most exciting games of Florida State’s 2013 championship season, while week seven sees FSU travel to Daytona International Speedway for an exciting, first-ever neutral site matchup against Florida. For the season finale, the Seminoles head back to Tallahassee, where they’ll take on FAMU in a battle for the Capital City.
Saiem: Short and sweet here:
- Georgia Tech: FSU’s closest large population metro with a major team
- UNC: Mack Brown and Sam Howell is reason enough.
- Miami: I do have to have excuses to talk trash to Jeremy Abramson. The only e-cane fan worth a follow.
- UCF: we see the talk (see: Tech, Georgia)
- Florida: a must as law-abiding citizens of the great state of Florida.
- Auburn: Dillingham and Woodson ties, plus I think the last time these two teams ended pretty well for FSU.
- Tennessee: It would definitely be nice to put an L on Jeremy Pruitt in one of his better recruiting states.
- Vanderbilt: You might ask why I wouldn’t put any of of the elite regional teams on this list. There is an avenue to play those types of teams without scheduling them. Unfortunately, that process pretty much precludes FSU from ever seeing a regional team like Vandy without explicitly scheduling them.
*editor’s note: Saiem didn’t designate home or away, so we’re going to just assume it’s a full-eight game schedule taking place in Tallahassee, to revitalize the state’s capital.
As a guy who had to ride in his fair share of vans and buses to track meets in college (and the bus trips did not come with the unlimited Dove ice cream bars that the trips with chartered flights featured), I’m going to do the athletes a favor and keep their games to a 6-hour ride maximum. Also, I have no interest in playing USF or UCF. Nothing against those programs, they seem like nice people, they just don’t do much for me. Within the 6-hour range, this leaves me with:
- Georgia State: Good opener to work out the kinks.
- Auburn: We have a fantastic history with the Tigers and have played some truly classic games. In fact, during the 1985-1990 time frame, Auburn was honestly the only program to consistently field teams that could come anywhere close to matching the athleticism and physicality of Miami and FSU. The 1989 FSU/Auburn game is oft overshadowed by the 1989 Miami game, but if you’re looking for some good, COVID viewing, that’s a can’t miss.
- South Alabama: A nice game to recover from the brutality of the Auburn contest.
- Georgia Tech (Away) — Always love a road trip to Atlanta and the views of Grant Stadium.
- Troy — The Trojans have a solid program (not to mention a beautiful campus, although I doubt we would travel there). Frankly, I wish we would schedule them a little more in real life.
- UGA (Away) — Who doesn’t want to see a game between the hedges? UGA was FSU’s first ever “sod victory,” so it’s time we go grab another piece of Sanford Stadium dirt.
- Southern Miss — Can we get some Brett Favre revenge?
- UF — No explanation needed.
While we have you, any other scheduling hot takes you’d like to throw out there?
Jon: This virus seems to have exposed the fact that many of the ways our society has functioned doesn’t actually have to function that way. It might forever alter the way we do things, like remote work and schooling, how offices are constructed, no-touch bathroom doors, etc. So why not college football? Now would be a great way to, if not totally break away from the NCAA, at least reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Getting rid of divisions is a great start. You know, cause they’re dumb.
Saiem: Football will have a much stronger chance to resume if the scheduled games are spaced out every two weeks (i.e. a bye week after every game.) It feels responsible from a pandemic/liability perspective. Additionally, if this sort of scheduling were adopted at all levels of football, there is the possibility it could lead to some reduction in the prevalence/severity of CTE among football players. Even if not, at the very least there would be some additional data to improve our understanding of what can be done to improve player safety from a rest perspective.
Perry: I mean, yeah, Saiem’s idea is pretty good.
Juan Montalvo: Tapping in here out of nowhere to say: if anything, let’s get all these 2020 out of conference games that were scheduled thrown out - the contracts can likely be voided via force majeur clauses. Particularly going to Boise.
Let FSU and other major schools make a great event out of the 2020 season - non conference neutral site tournaments, like in basketball, hosted over a few weeks. Regionalized.
Matt: I just hope this will finally lead to getting rid of the divisions for the ACC. But I must say, bye weeks between every game seems like a great idea on multiple levels. Helps fans who travel from out of town not have to make back-to-back trips, which could lead to more people coming. Also gives the games more of an “event” feel. And of course TV’s could still have plenty of content if teams were broken up into two groups, so every Saturday always had games on. And it’s not like other sports don’t span multiple semesters.