By Zack Steele
This is a weird year. Any arguments?
And for our beloved college football season to begin, we have been asked to give certain concessions so that our football season can occur. Most of us are willing to do so in order to keep fans, coaches and players as safe and as healthy as possible this fall. Remember just a couple months ago, we weren’t sure we would have any season at all.
So we are told we must sacrifice certain things. Only 20,000 fans, give or take, in any given stadium? Fine. Masks in the stadium? OK. No Million Dollar band? They can just play Sweet Home Alabama and Dixieland Delight on a loop in Bryant-Denny Stadium. They have already ruined the song for Auburn and other SEC fans already, so go ahead.
Then the NCAA, in its infinite wisdom, came out this week and said No Mascots.
To paraphrase one of my favorite sailors who never misses an arm day: “That’s alls I can stands. I can’t stands no more.”
What possible problem could Smokey, or UGA, or Reveille or Aurea the War Eagle bring that is worse than what we are already facing?
I get it. The mascots draw a crowd. So bring them on the field and ask people to keep their distance. Dogs aren’t vectors for COVID. OK, maybe UGA is at high risk given he is probably the most inbred canine in history, but so what if he is in the stadium for people to see.
Auburn’s eagle flight is one of the most iconic events in sports. Now it won’t happen. It is one of the things that get folks to the stadium early. Now I guess everyone can spread COVID by having a Coors Light at Skybar before the game, since tailgating is also outlawed in 2020.
Moving on, here are my off-the-cuff predictions for the 2020 season:
- Alabama– The Tide will be hungry after getting shut out of the playoffs last year. Bonus: They also get Auburn at home.
- Auburn- Bo Nix enters his second year with a solid receiving corps. At home with Tennessee will loom large.
- Texas A&M- Jimbo Fisher has all the tools to have a great year. Unfortunately, COVID stuck him with Florida and Tennessee on the schedule.
- LSU-This is a huge rebuilding year for Coach O. Replacing two great coordinators will only complicate matters.
- Mississippi St.- Is anyone else excited to see Mike Leach on the sidelines at State this year? I mean, they aren’t going to be very good, but I am still excited.
- Ole Miss-Joey Freshwater…err Lane Kiffen is back in the SEC. He has some work to do to make the Rebs competitive.
- Arkansas- New coach + bare cupboard + horribly difficult schedule likely means more of the same in Fayetteville.
- Florida-Dan Mullen has it working right now in Gainesville. All the tools are there for a SEC title run.
- Georgia- The Dogs will enter 2020 with many unknowns, a new QB being the biggest of them all. Circle the Auburn game in Week 2… Auburn vs Georgia in Week 2 is the strangest thing I’ve heard about 2020 other than murder hornets.
- Tennessee- Can it be? The Vols actually are headed in the right direction for the first time since the W. was President. Again, circle that Auburn game on the road.
- Kentucky- The Wildcats have arguably the best offensive line in the country, but I doubt they have enough skill talent in the Commonwealth to stay consistent week in, week out.
- South Carolina- What’s odds do you give Will Muschamp actually accidentally strangles himself with a mask?
- Missouri- The Tigers open up with Bama, Tennessee, and LSU. Throw in Georgia and Florida a little later and the schedule will provide to be too much.
- Vandy- No fans will be allowed into Vanderbilt stadium. But will anyone notice?
Till next week!