Teams, Players, Conferences And Fans All Win (And So Does Alabama)
college football 2020, sports, COVID-19
Published Jan. 14, 2020
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com College Football Editor
When the 2020 college football season ended in early January 2021 with the Alabama Crimson Tide winning the school’s 18th National Championship and Head Coach Nick Saban his seventh, there was more than one winner in the sport.
In addition to Alabama, the winners included the conferences, the fans, the coaches and – above all – the players.
The conference commissioners – led by Greg Sankey of the the SEC and John Swofford of the ACC – made the right call to play the 2020 college football season and here is why that is the case.
Let’s start with the players. They wanted to play. Their families wanted to play. And play they did, in large part without incident.
Yes, there were rescheduled, postponed and canceled games. Players tested positive and had to miss games because of contact tracing. Even coaches got COVID. But they recovered and hung in there and became big winners.
Without a season, they would have mixed in with the other college students and been exposed even more to the virus. Football game them focus and gave them a purpose.
Secondary winners are the conference commissioners, who earned great respect from fans and media. They managed what sometimes seemed like unmanageable situations, shuffled games on the fly and held all the schools together.
Sankey and Swofford, in particular, stood their ground while the Big 10’s Kevin Warren and the Pac-12’s Larry Scott were ready to throw in the towel, only to eventually give in to public pressure.
And finally, the fans were winners, too. They got to enjoy their teams, embrace the passion of the game and experience the highs and lows as if it were a normal season.
They, too, adapted to the pandemic season. They stayed home instead of filling stadiums and attending tailgate parties. They missed being with fellow alumni at sports bars. Yet their interest in their team and in the game never wavered.
And finally, the game itself was a winner. By having a season, it had people’s attention in a time when bars and restaurants were closed, when friends and family were suffering from a deadly virus and . It continued and it provided relief during a challenging time.
Without college football in 2020, we would not have had the memorable moments and unbelievable what-just-happened plays.
There was Indiana quarterback Michael Penix, Jr., stretching out at the pylon to beat Penn State in overtime, the feel-good story of previously unheard-of Coastal Carolina, Sarah Fuller becoming the first female to kick – and score– in a game, the countless highlight catches and runs by Heisman Trophy winner Devonte Smith, Najee Harris leaping over a Notre Dame defender and – of course – a tossed cleat.
A tossed cleat!
College football 2020 deserved to be play and as a result, we are all winners.