After a few weeks of soldiering, college football seems to lose its battle against the corona virus pandemic. The U.S. recorded 136,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday – the highest daily total – and the increase in infections across the country has decimated this week’s college football schedule.
The Southeastern Conference (SEC) has postponed four of its seven games scheduled for Saturday, which means that the number of teams on the sidelines – eight – will exceed the number of teams in action.
The “Big Ten” confirmed on Wednesday that the game between Ohio State, number 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, and Maryland has been cancelled and will not be postponed.
The game will be the third postponement in the Big Ten since the beginning of the season, bringing the total number of games postponed in the first 11 weeks of the campaign to 55 across the Football Bowl subdivision.
This is far from the optimistic picture that President Donald Trump painted in August when he warned that the Conferences would be making a “tragic mistake” if they cancelled their seasons.
“These football players are very young, strong people and physically, I mean physically they are in extraordinary shape,” Trump told Fox Sports Radio.
“So you’re not going to have a problem, you’re not going to see people, you know, could there be a problem? Could it happen? But I doubt it.
“So I think football is making a tragic mistake.”
His comments came before the Big Ten became the first Power Five conference to postpone their football season because of the pandemic, and Pac-12 followed.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big 12 and the Sun Belt Conference all started as planned in early September, and the SEC joined them after a brief postponement on September 26.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 finally reversed their decisions and started on October 24 and November 7, respectively.
Trump has repeatedly taken credit for the change of heart at both conferences.
“I have brought back the football of the Big Ten,” he said during the first presidential debate on September 29.
“That was me, and I am very happy to do so. And the people of Ohio are very proud of me.” That was me, and I’m very happy to do it.
A few days later, Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott said Trump had nothing to do with the conference’s decision to start the season in November, but that didn’t stop the president from taking another victory lap.
“I’m the one who brought back the Big Ten and Pac-12 football,” he told Fox & Friends on October 20.
“You know, I got that back. That did not come back. And I got it back. I hope people recognize that. That was simply me.”
Like their power-five counterparts, the Big Ten and Pac-12 decided to go with a pure conference schedule, but that didn’t prevent postponements.
The games in Wisconsin against Nebraska and Purdue were both cancelled, as was the Ohio State vs.
On the Pac 12 opening weekend, Arizona’s street game against Utah and Washington’s trip to California were cancelled.
The SEC has so far played 40 of the 70 games originally scheduled for this year’s schedule.
Earlier this week, the conference announced that No. 1 Alabama would not be traveling to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to play defending champion LSU, while the trip from No. 5 Texas A&M to Tennessee was also cancelled. Mississippi State’s home game against No. 24 Auburn suffered the same fate, and on Wednesday the game between No. 12 Georgia and Missouri was cancelled.
The SEC Coronavirus protocol stipulates that teams must have at least 53 scholarship holders on their rosters for the game to take place.
While players who tested positive for coronavirus are apparently not available for matches, contact tracing has proven to be the biggest problem for teams trying to reach the 53 player threshold.
“I am certainly shocked, but not deterred,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said Wednesday.
“The identification of contacts has the potential to even increase a positive test. […] If you were to tell me in July that we would be here in the first week of November and have achieved what we have achieved, I would consider that positive.”
By Thursday morning, more than 10.4 million cases of corona virus had been reported in the USA, by far the highest number of all countries.
Of the 1.28 million deaths worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, more than 241,000 were reported in