Four Down Territory: Big Ten Chaos, Other Leagues Play, Ultimate PSU Season Continues & Covid-19
1st Down: Big Ten Perspective: A few Big Ten Coaches have taken to the media complaining about a lack of information on the decision to postpone the season. At the same time college Presidents and administrations have their hands full trying to keep their campuses open and keeping a lid on the outbreaks that are running through their student populations. Keep in mind that 99.8% of the Big Ten’s 607,000 students do not play football and they too have parents that want to know what is happening on campus. We all want to see football, but the game has to be kept in perspective.
2nd Down: ACC Penny Wise Pound Foolish: Syracuse at #18 UNC: Despite switching to all remote learning and "de-densifying" campus because of a large Covid outbreak the Tarheels are still playing. While the ACC be making some of that TV revenue back, they’ve also demonstrated to these players that their schools are willing to take risks with their health to make money. You can expect this season to be “Exhibit A” when players start organizing to get revenue sharing in the future. As for these teams, Mack Brown's UNC rebuilding job has gained momentum on the field and with their current recruiting class. This game also will be a gauge for where Syracuse stands as a program. In 2019 the Orange slid to a 5-7 finish after a 10-win season in 2018. #1 Clemson at Wake Forest: There is no truth to the rumor that Liberty University offered to buy the rights to the Wake Forest “Demon Deacons” nickname after the recent fall from grace of President Jerry Falwell. Wake finds a difficult opener breaking in a new quarterback after last year’s star Jamie Newman transferred to Georgia (before opting out).
3rd Down: Texas Showdown: UTEP at #14 Texas: After beating Georgia in the Sugar Bowl in 2018 Sam Ehlinger and Texas were a media darling pick as a playoff contender in 2019. That did not materialize, but do not discount the drive of the Longhorn QB in 2020. Ehlinger is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in college football and one who went toe to toe with LSU last year. If he can get the Longhorns over the hump this year he’ll take his place among the immortals in Texas football lore.
4th Down: Witnessing History: Duke at #10 Notre Dame: This is an historic game marking Notre Dame’s first (and presumably last) season opener as a member of the ACC. And of course the nation’s most famous Catholic University will be squaring off against the (Blue) Devils of Duke. If the Irish can exorcise these Demons they’ll grab their first-ever conference win. If not, then the dreams of a two-horse Notre Dame/Clemson ACC race will suffer a big setback.
The Ultimate Penn State Season: This week we feature the top season opener during our “Ultimate Penn State Season” to help Penn State fans with their “Football Separation Therapy.”
August 28, 1999 #4 Penn State 41 #3 Arizona 7: ESPN’s College Gameday, an ABC National Television audience and a sellout crowd of 97,168 were on hand to see this one. When the Pigskin Classic offered to have this game at Penn State, the team voted unanimously to add this to a non-conference schedule that already included games against Pitt and at #8 Miami. While the strength of Penn State’s defense was already established, the question heading into this season opener was how Penn State’s offense would fare against Arizona’s “Desert Swarm” defense. The summer before the game Head Coach Joe Paterno gave his offensive staff 108 pages of hand-written notes, play diagrams and concepts for the season opener. That offense exploded almost immediately with the biggest star of the day being Wide Receiver Chafie Fields who had plays of 20 yards, 38 yards (TD) and 72 yards (TD) in the first 6 minutes of the game.Those 108 pages of notes were the foundation of an offense that would average 36 points a game against a schedule that included 7 nationally-ranked teams. As for the defense, LB Lavar Arrington was all over the field in this opener.
The Power 5 Covid-19 19 Rankings--September 11, 2020: Here are the 19 Power-5 schools with the most confirmed Covid-19 cases on their campuses.