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WALLY HALL: UA great's idea for football season has merit

by Wally Hall | July 12, 2020 at 8:29 a.m.


That's been the key word since the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced they would play a schedule of conference-only teams IF there is a college football season.

It also means Michigan will cancel its second game with a university from Arkansas.

First, the Wolverines just changed their mind about playing the Arkansas Razorbacks, deciding to put Notre Dame in that spot instead. They did pay $2 million for the snub.

Now, Arkansas State University's shot at Michigan -- and the $1.8 million payday that came with it -- is lost to the coronavirus pandemic. That's roughly 23% of the ASU football budget.

Those conferences shortening schedules in hopes of playing the season makes sense, but it was a total lack of class that no one from Michigan called ASU Athletic Director Terry Mohajir, who learned about the cancellation through the media.

On a Saturday morning radio show, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey admitted his concern about having a football season is "high to very high."

The SEC, as well as the ACC and Big 12, are on a day-to-day watch of the trends, listening mostly to the medical advisory teams they formed before making any decisions.

Sankey, who has a regularly scheduled meeting Monday with the conference's athletic directors, has repeatedly said he's looking at late July for a decision.

It didn't have to get to this point, where the rest of the world has told Americans to stay away because so many have refused to comply with the strong suggestions of medical experts.

Party on America, just not in Europe. And maybe not at football games.

The facts that the SEC has not rescheduled its annual football media day (which was to start Monday), even a virtual one, and that discussions about fan attendance are not even on the table right now combine to wave a big red flag.

Lots of people have ideas about how to hold a season, but former Razorback All-American Jim Mabry actually has a common-sense approach that should be considered.

His idea includes seven games total, with six conference games and one nonconference game so each SEC team gets four home games.

For away games, teams would fly in and out on the same day.

Here's Mabry's solution:

Play only SEC divisional opponents and a nonconference game. All SEC West teams would play one weekend, and the SEC East teams would play the next weekend, giving two weeks between each game. The nonconfernce games would be played at 11 a.m. The East champion then would play the West champion in a regular-season finale.

SEC computers easily could formulate a schedule that fits for everyone.

IF the SEC has a season, that idea should be considered.

No one wants a football season more than sportswriters, but this sportswriter is ready for some progress in the ongoing fight with the coronavirus.

The numbers of those infected are growing and are much worse now than in March and April, when people were sent home to work.

If there was a shortage of virus tests back then, what are we facing today?

Football, in my world, is big. But the big issue for colleges is getting campuses safe to open for fall classes.

IF there is a football season, the schedule is obviously going to be overhauled from where it stands right now.

There needs to be a solution on how to have a football season, and Mabry's idea is the best one heard so far.


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