Hilariously, yesterday was Kristina Johnson’s first day as Ohio State’s president.
— Kristina M. Johnson (@PresKMJohnson) September 1, 2020
She had one hell of a month for uh, not yet being employed. Tip the cap.
Word of the Day: kismet.
SP+. As if y’all needed another reminder to be angry about the Big Ten’s season to postpone, Bill Connelly dropped his preseason SP+ ratings and the Buckeyes sit alone at the top.
For the rest of this piece, however, we’re suspending all uncertainty. While four of the FBS’ 10 conferences, plus a few independents, have postponed their fall football seasons with the hope of starting in the winter or spring, 76 teams have committed to playing this fall — 77 if you include Air Force, with its two-game, service-academies-only schedule.
While this is destined to be the strangest season in the lifetime of anyone under 75 (respect to anyone old enough to recall the oddity of the 1945 season), it could still actually be a season. So let’s project it.
What follows are updated 2020 (or shall we say, 2020-21) SP+ ratings. They are based on the same factors as the February projections — returning production, recent history and recruiting — and they are updated for all transfers and opt-outs as of the afternoon of Aug. 31.
Yes, I’m including all 130 FBS teams here, even the ones who have postponed their seasons. It’s good from a continuity/normalcy standpoint, plus, again, these other teams still might play games. As the fall season unfolds, the weekly SP+ ratings will include only fall teams, as the AP has chosen with its own poll. But we start with everyone.
You love to see Ohio State sitting in the top spot and rated more than four points better than Clemson with zero projected wins this fall. It’s truly awesome and makes me feel great.
NOT SO FAST! For a brief stretch of yesterday, it seemed the Big Ten’s fall season didn’t just have new life, but that it was now likely we’d see Big Ten football this fall.
Unfortunately, by the evening, most outlets were telling folks to – at best – not get their hopes up.
As one source told me, reliable, rapid tests are probably the biggest piece, but not the only one. Can every school conduct efficient testing for myocarditis? What about contact tracing? As Big Ten coaches and others have told me, that area remains a mess and a huge obstacle.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) September 1, 2020
And Rittenberg’s was one of the more optimistic reports. CBS Sports called a fall Big Ten season “a long shot,” Yahoo! Sports reported that sources laughed at the idea of the conference playing immediately, and the Detroit Free Press had sources that were pretty damn emphatic.
The notion of the Big Ten reversing course on its Aug. 11 decree that postponed fall sports indefinitely invited scoffs and derisive remarks by some university power brokers with firsthand knowledge of those decisions.
“Laughable,” one told the Free Press on condition of anonymity.
“F— no,” another said.
But hey, this shit seems to change by the hour, so I’ll happily ride this rollercoaster a bit longer. It’s a hell of a lot more fun than just sulking until Thanksgiving or January.
NCAA HATES FUN. It looks like the NCAA is going to kill what would have been the one potentially cool and good thing about a winter/spring college football season and ban early enrollees from playing.
Timeframe for a winter/spring season?
NCAA needs to approve a 13-week window in which teams can play football. Nobody will play 12 winter/spring games, but a big window allows lots of room for conferences to work.
FBS probably start earlier. FCS could go more spring.
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) September 2, 2020
On one hand, I get it. But on the other, this season doesn’t count towards anyone’s eligibility anyway, so what would letting them play be hurting? And there’s a solid chance some teams’ rosters are depleted by opt-outs anyway, so why not allow early enrollees to fill those gaps, especially when you’ll need all the players you can get with potential quarantine situations?
More than any of that, this just would have been something genuinely cool and fun to look forward to about a spring/winter season that will otherwise suck compared to a normal season in pretty much every other way, and the NCAA stole it. Classic.
JJ WOLF ADVANCES. If you’re in search of some Buckeyes to cheer for these days, might I direct your attention to Mr. Jeffrey John Wolf, who downed world No. 36 Guido Pella in the U.S. Open yesterday to move to the next round.
— Ohio State M Tennis (@OhioStateMTEN) September 1, 2020
J.J. and his glorious mullet are now batting 1.000 in grand slam matches, touting a perfect 1-0 record.
The mullet moves on!
— ATP Tour (@atptour) September 1, 2020
His next victim will be Carballés Baena, but the details of that match are yet to be determined.
WHAT’S A GAME WORTH? When football first got canceled, I jested that Ohio State and Clemson should just schedule an exhibition game and sell pay-per-view packages like a big-ticket boxing match.
It seems Oklahoma stole my idea… for a game against Missouri State?
Oklahoma’s Sept. 12 season-opener against Missouri State is going to be $54.99 on pay-per-view.
— Dave Wilson (@dwil) September 1, 2020
If the market rate for a game between Oklahoma and Missouri State is more than $50, what the hell would it be for an Ohio State/Clemson rematch? Someone needs to tell Ohio State I solved all of their revenue problems.
SONG OF THE DAY. “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath.
NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. The Medal of Honor recipient who fought to avenge his brother’s death… A one-armed rollerskater who stabbed people at random was cleared of attempted murder due to insanity… The crucial ingredient our diet lacks… A life sentence couldn’t keep their love apart… We’re all socially awkward now… Singing dogs re-emerge from extinction for another tune…