Change in a COVID Season

The more things change, the more things get ... weird. We knew this was going to be a college football season unlike any in recent memory. With COVID-19 spreading throughout the country, sports have been turned inside-out. Football had to take its turn. Over the first nine weeks of the 2020 season, 30 games have been postponed or canceled. Just one week (Week 8) hasn't had multiple games taken off the schedule (only New Mexico at Colorado State was impacted).

Now, we're passing the midway point of the season. We've got a bit of a feel for what we can, and can't, expect to happen as the campaign rolls along. At least, we thought we did. As the calendar turns to November, new questions have popped up. These are some of the biggest one in my head.

How Will the West Coast Play Into Everything?

This coming Saturday, the final "Power" stud will trot onto in the paddock. The Pac-12 will be the final Power 5 conference to kick off their season. That means a compacted schedule that's shorter than any of the other top leagues. That means less chances to impress the committee and less opportunities to recover from a slip-up. And that means any program getting into the CFP would be more heavily scrutinized. Numbers and perception mean a lot in this sport. Using less to gain more won't sit well with others across the country.

How Much Thin Ice is the Big Ten Skating On?

If you didn't know how tight the Upper Midwest conference's error allowance was for the campaign, you got it after Saturday's cancellation of the Wisconsin/Nebraska matchup. The Badgers are a top-10 team going into November. However, the 20-plus positive cases that have shut things down in Madison may end up costing Bucky multiple games (a Tuesday decision date is set regarding the November 7th game against Purdue).

While Wisconsin isn't the league favorite to make the CFP, their tale is telling for each of the other Big Ten programs. What if they have an outbreak? What if a couple of their opponents have extended outbreaks? Will a 6-0 record really compare to an 8-1 or 9-1 record?

Will the Heisman Race Truly Be Decided By a Case of COVID?

Unless some horrific injury happens between now and next May, Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence will stay the consensus overall No. 1 prospect for the NFL Draft. But quirky things can sometimes happen when it comes to who wins the Heisman Trophy. Lawrence was the frontrunner going into this year, and his stats aren't hurting the cause (135/191, 1,833 yds, 17 TDs, 2 INTs, 4 rush TDs).

This week, Lawrence contracted COVID-19. It prevented him from being on the field against Boston College. It will prevent him from stepping on the field this coming Saturday. The Tigers' signal-caller has the winner-worthy stats. Playing at Notre Dame, though, was supposed to provide that signature moment that many Heisman voters wanted to see. This diagnosis, and the subsequent quarantine, could allow Ohio State's Justin Fields or Alabama's Mac Jones chances to catch up against their potential schedules.

How Many Contenders Are Truly Left?

The Big 12 is cannibalizing itself ... again. We're not sure what to expect from the truncated Pac-12 season. Michigan and Penn State have disappointed once again. As we head into the second half of the season, the candidates most poised for your national title vote consist of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Georgia. Well, in a year that's truly 100 calendars of weird in the making, I guess it's good to know that some things don't actually change.

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