As we await the final verdict of college football’s 2020 season, I have been thinking about what life would be like for an avid college football fan like myself if there is no season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yes, there are FAR more important things in life to worry about. But this is s sports blog and in my opinion, college football is the greatest sport in the world. I would miss it dearly if we have to wait until 2021. ( I refuse to entertain the highly problematic idea of a spring season).

With that being said, I got to thinking today about some of the things I would miss most:

College GameDay

Waking up to ESPN’s College GameDay on TV Saturday morning after a long night of covering high school football the night prior was something I thoroughly looked forward to over the course of the last five years when I was living/working in Tennessee. No matter what mood I was in or how tired I was from the night before, it always got me into proper game day mode. I’m a real college football nerd so hearing about all the day’s match-ups, storylines, who was on upset alert, interesting stats and tidbits etc. has always been fun for me. I would miss seeing the ole GameDay crew every weekend as well as watching College Football Final Saturday night when I could catch up on all the highlights I may have missed throughout the day.

Trash Talk

What would sports be without a little trash talk? We all like to win and when we can do that and have a little lighthearted fun at out neighbors expense? Even better! I’m in a Facebook group with various people from my hometown area and all over the country really where we discuss sports literally on a daily frequency sharing our thoughts, opinions, memes, articles and everything in between. Sometimes there are people that take things a little too far or too seriously but when it’s kept on a respectful manner, it’s all fun. The way it should be.

We get to laugh together and sometimes cry together over the sports happenings and “real life” events going on in our personal lives. From USC and Notre Dame to Clemson and FSU, to Ohio State and Penn State, we have a mixture of fans from different teams and various backgrounds. There’s even a few brave women in our group that somehow put up with all our shenanigans. (Bless their souls because some of the fellas in that group….wow). We are more than just a Facebook group though and even have gatherings when we can to just hang out and fellowship together….and talk a little trash.

A few tailgating shots from the last few years. Clockwise from top left: Clemson vs South Carolina 2018 in Clemson, South Carolina vs Tennessee 2014 in Columbia, Presbyterian College vs Monmouth 2014 (Homecoming at my Alma Mater) in Clinton, S.C. and South Carolina vs Clemson 2019 in Columbia, S.C. (Photos: Instagram/Christopherbhall)

Socialization

I’m a big tailgating guy. I love waking up on Saturday morning and heading out to be with friends and family while enjoying some good food and drinks before or after the game. There were times back when I had season tickets for Clemson that regardless of kick off, the game was a full-day affair. If it was an early game, I’d be down there asap for enough time to roam around before the game and then hang out afterward and wait for traffic to die down (that was usually a pretty decent excuse). Night games are always more fun and typically mean it’s a game of bigger importance, so I always look forward to the atmosphere of a night game and watching a game under the lights of Death Valley.

Spending all day tailgating, watching other games then heading into Memorial Stadium or which ever venue I’m visiting for that weekend is part of what makes Saturdays in the fall so special for me. Football and tailgating is a weird thing when you think about it. We pack up the truck with food, chairs, tables, tvs, generators, grills and everything else under the sun to go sit in a field or parking lot for hours on in…and it is a blast. After moving away to Tennessee and only getting to attend usually 1-2 Clemson games per year, coming back and not only getting to watch a game in person but see so many faces I didn’t get to see very often was always heartwarming. This might be the one I would miss the most this year if games are cancelled.

The Hype

When it comes to sports, it seems like we are always looking ahead. By the final snap of last year’s college football national championship, folks were already talking about how Clemson could be the favorite to win it all this season. We’ve been talking about how will LSU fare this season after losing some of its star power including quarterback Joe Burrow and passing game coordinator Joe Brady? We’ve discussed the rise of North Carolina under Mack Brown in his second stop in Chapel Hill and his top-five 2021 recruiting class. We’ve talked about the big showdowns that will impact the playoff race like Georgia vs Florida, Ohio State vs Penn State, LSU vs Alabama, Oklahoma vs Texas and Clemson vs Notre Dame.

We’ve discussed coaching changes like Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss, Mike Leach at Mississippi State and Mike Norvell at Florida State. We talk about college football throughout the “off-season” and there’s virtually no stoppage especially for the tried and true fans that keep up with recruiting and other off the field matters during the winter, spring and summer. If college football is put on the shelf, all that would be for naught. And what the heck would we talk about for the next few months?

But……can you imagine the build up for the 2021 season following a full year without football? Whew.

Rivalry Week

I’ve said it numerous times before but Thanksgiving week is my absolute favorite week of the entire year. First off, there’s all the family time then of course all the great food. (Side note: My mom’s dressing is the best on this side of heaven and it’s not even close. Fight me.) Add in the chance to catch up with old friends from high school and college that are back in town and the anticipation of the Clemson vs Carolina game makes for one heck of a week. It is truly a year round rivalry in the Palmetto State that divides families, marriages, friends and places of employment and the build up to Saturday is always a fun time no matter how good or bad either or both of the teams are. If we do have a season, rivalry week HAS to be included.

BUT……..THERE IS HOPE!

Hopefully, the powers that be will find a way to safely get these folks onto the field this season and give us some of the games we really want to see in the process. Still not convinced they are able to make it happen but I’m keeping that mustard seed faith.

Reports are on the wire that the ACC, Big 12 and SEC are considering a model that would have a 9-10 game conference schedule plus one open slot for a non-conference/rivalry game. That seems to be the best case scenario right now and that saves us a few of those pointless games like Alabama vs North Minnesota State A&M and Clemson vs West Side Hollywood Tech. Now make no mistake about it, FCS teams matter, too. But let’s be honest….no one really cares to see those teams get 50 and 60 point bombs dropped on them for what usually amounts to just a nice six-figure check to take back home. Save us all the misery this year and let’s play the games that matter most.