I created two polls on Twitter last week – one asked how much people missed watching live sports on television and the other asked if people thought there would be a full college football season, a shortened college football season or no college football season.
The results of the first poll showed that 57.1 percent of the people who responded said they missed watching games on television more than they expected, 28.6 percent missed them as much as they expected and 14.3 missed them less than they thought they would.
In the second poll, 47.6 percent of the people who participated said there would be a full season of college football and 35.4 percent expected that there will be a reduced schedule of games. Only 17.1 percent saw the worst case scenario of no season coming down the road.
The two easiest conclusions to draw from that are that sports are a big part of the lives of a lot of people and that sports fans want very much to be optimistic there will be a college football season this year.
While I never took a statistics class in college, I realize there are reasons my little polls had limitations.
First, they were small. Eighty-two people participated in the college football poll and 56 people answered the how much do you miss sports on television question.
Second, it was a random group, not one designed to mirror society overall. And, third, you would assume most people looking at the Twitter of a sportswriter are sports-oriented people who are hoping sports will return sooner rather than later.
Probably the best answer to what the 2020 college football season will look like is that it depends on the level of danger from the coronavirus two or three months from now. But it is very possible it won’t look like the 2019 season or any other season before that.
On one end of the possibilities, if the virus has greatly receded, maybe games could be played with a few extra precautions. But if it hasn’t, it’s possible there will be no season.
And there are many ideas somewhere between the all or nothing options being studied by universities and their athletic departments, including playing partial schedules, pushing the season back by a month or two, limiting the crowds to players’ families or playing in empty stadiums.
During a conference call last Friday, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said, “I’m hopeful we’ll have a football season in the fall in some form or fashion. That might be naive on my part, but I have to believe something will happen.
“We’re not going to rush this. It’s a major societal issue. Football is important but we’ve got people dying,” he said.
During a recent press conference Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz also said it’s important to look at the big picture.
“What does it mean if we’re not back? That’s not good,” Ferentz said. “What does it mean if we’re not able to return to some semblance of normality, just in our our daily lives three months from now? It means we’ve got bigger problems than just missing football.”