Article in the Chicago Tribune about the B1G football season

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By Poisonut on 11:46:51 07/30/20

You want college football. I want college football. LSU coach Ed Orgeron really wants college football.

“You can call us at midnight; we’ll play in a pasture,” Orgeron said Wednesday.

But college football remains about a 10-point underdog, and the spread gets higher with each campus outbreak (Rutgers, Michigan State) and pro sports stumble (were the Miami Marlins waiting for the audio-book version of MLB’s 113-page operations manual?).

Although college football is “hanging by a thread,” according to a top Big Ten source, the conference still is hoping and planning for a nine- or 10-game season. Because without a plan, there’s zero chance.

Another source said he would be “shocked” if the Big Ten does not release a tentative schedule by next week and as early as Friday.

The most likely plan is for 10 games, starting Sept. 5, with three to five open dates to allow for the possibility of teams having to quarantine for 10 days or more.

Big Ten officials have debated when to schedule the six divisional games (East vs. East, West vs. West). Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos said in mid-July he preferred them in the middle “in case you have to knock a game or two off the front or a game or two on the back end.”

But barring a late switch, the schedule will be front-loaded with the divisional games because those tend to require shorter travel and less risk of coronavirus exposure.

The conference could either add a fourth cross-division game to each team’s schedule or tear up the current slate and start over, favoring geography. For example, Illinois is slated to host Ohio State and travel to Indiana and Rutgers for its crossover games. The Michigan schools are obviously closer to Champaign than the one in New Jersey.

“Getting on a bus is preferable to a plane, even if it’s a private plane,” a source said.

Asked whether the Big Ten would feel pressure to play if conferences such as the SEC, ACC and Big 12 plow ahead, the source replied: “Zero. Zero. There is no peer pressure. When someone on a call said, ‘I wonder if other conferences will go along,’ the response was, ‘I don’t care.’

“If we can do it safely, we will do it. It’s as simple as that.”

And now, an update on news from the college football world. Good means more likely to play. Bad means … you know.

The ACC announced plans for an 11-game schedule — 10 conference games plus a wild card played in each team’s home state. Notre Dame will function as an ACC team in 2020. As part of its stated protocol, all players will be tested weekly — Wednesday before a Saturday game — and all positive results must be shared with the opponent within 24 hours.

Rutgers. This just in: College kids like to party. And while many coaches around the country have hailed their players for making “good decisions” after dark, a recent on-campus gathering led to an outbreak and the Scarlet Knights’ decision to halt workouts, according to NJ Advance Media.

Stadium’s Brett McMurphy reported that Maryland tested 192 players and staff on July 20 with zero positives.

Michigan State said it has 16 positive results after testing 122 athletes from July 20 to 24. Four athletic department members also tested positive. The Spartans suspended football workouts last week and put the entire team in quarantine.

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