"The Stack" 9-17-20

The Stack is back on this Thursday and there is a lot to get to today. Plenty of football talk plus we hit the links so let’s get right to “the stack” for today, Thursday, September 17th:

Big Ten reverses course, was start up season in late October

Call it submitting to peer pressure, pressure from parents, pressure from the President, pressure from your biggest & arguably most powerful school (no not you, Nebraska), Ohio State, but the Big Ten announced on Wednesday that they will start up the football season the weekend of October 23rd-24th. Certainly, the fact that testing for the coronavirus and getting the results back in as soon as 15 minutes played a major role in the conference’s decision to try and start the season back up. Science and information on COVID-19 are constantly changing by the day. We get new information all of the time. There is no information, new testing that is available now that wasn’t available last month when the Big Ten announced they were cancelling the season. Now, does a call from the President help apply pressure to start up? Sure. But so does money. And the Big Ten would stand to lose a lot of money by not having any football played this fall. Now they can still get their share of all of that revenue that they will get by making 18-21 year olds go out and play a sport that so many people love.

The Big Ten will play an 8 or 9 game schedule. Is that enough to get a team into the College Football Playoff? Probably. Most teams will be playing 10 games at most this season. If a Big Ten team can get to eight wins, they will be in the College Football Playoff, especially if that team is Ohio State. Even if they lose in the conference championship game, they’ll still get in. Now would a team like Rutgers, Indiana or Northwestern? That is debatable.

The Mountain West and Pac-12 have both issued statements saying they are looking into getting a football season started up at some point hopefully in the fall, but a lot depends on testing and what local and state mandates are. The MAC doesn’t appear ready to change their minds, but these western conferences may if that money is going to disappear. Or, and most importantly, if the testing will make it possible and if the teams will be safe.

I do think that in this COVID-19 2020 world we live in, the College Football Playoff will expand to 8 teams this year. It’s going to be so tough to pick out the best four teams without every team playing the same number of games. The NHL, NBA & MLB all expanded their playoffs for this year. College football should do the same and then keep it that way going forward. Here’s hoping it happens.

College football weekend forecast

What do you know? It’s our first college football weekend forecast of the year. And I have to tell you, the ranking are completely whacked out. Kentucky at #23? BYU at #21 and Army at #22? Come on. Their game unfortunately has been postponed. Louisville & Miami (FL) at #17 and #18 respectively? By the way, that’s where College Gameday is going to be at and that is the ABC Saturday night game thanks to Virginia Tech having a COVID outbreak preventing them from playing Virginia.

We’re so desperate for college football that games this week have no business being on the channels that they will be. Just look at some of these games:

· 0-1 Campbell @ 1-0 Coastal Carolina 7:30 PM ET ESPN (Friday)…this game is only due to Houston @ #16 Memphis being postponed.

· 1-0 #19 Louisiana @ 0-0 Georgia State Noon ET ESPN2

· 0-1 Navy @ 1-0 Tulane Noon ET ABC

· 1-0 #23 Appalachian State @ 1-0 Marshall 3:30 PM ET CBS

· 0-0 FAU @ 1-0 Georgia Southern 3:30 PM ET ESPN

· 0-0 Louisiana Tech @ 0-1 Southern Miss 7:30 PM ET ESPN2

On a normal week in a normal year, maybe two of these games would be on ESPN or CBSSN. But it’s such a rarity that I may actually watch more of the games this week than I otherwise would. It’s cool that these games are on these channels, don’t get me wrong. It just speaks to where we are at with college football this year in a COVID-19 world. Crazy, but fun and unique. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

U.S. Open set to take place at Wingfoot

In this COVID-19 2020 world we live in, it’s crazy that the FedEx Cup Playoffs have completed for golf yet we still have two majors to go. The U.S. Open takes place at Winged Foot in New York. It’s a difficult course so don’t expect Tiger Woods to compete with the best of them much less win it all. Arguably no one is hotter on the course right now than Dustin Johnson, the winner of the Playoffs. I’m not going with him though. I’m not going with my guy Jordan Spieth. I’m not going with Justin Thomas or Rory McIlroy. Let’s go with Jon Rahm. He went toe to toe with Johnson a couple of weeks ago. He’s a great player and I think it’s time to win a major. The course is going to be very difficult. Long rough. Not very wide fairways. Difficult greens. I think Rahm gets it done.

0-1 Cincinnati Bengals @ 0-1 Cleveland Browns 8:20 PM ET NFL Network

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the NFL. The NFL was born in a car showroom with 14 people in Canton, Ohio. It only makes sense then that on this 100th anniversary that the Thursday Night Football matchup features the two teams from Ohio. The Bengals were disappointed last week to not emerge with a victory against the Chargers. The Browns were just flat out disappointing. They can’t be this bad can they? Then again, they are the Browns. There will be some fans in attendance and I think the Browns will be able to get a win and calm everyone’s fears…at least for a little bit.

Prediction: Browns 24 Bengals 13

Coming up Friday: Week 2 NFL preview & predictions