Speculation is aplenty these days as any and all parties involved with college football debate whether the 2020 season can and will take place on schedule or even at all.
While so much is still to be determined, and more than four months remain between now and the start of the season, prevailing logic suggests that a best-case scenario is for the season to be held without fans in attendance. While far from ideal, such a scenario would still mean football and Ohio State head coach Ryan Day will take whatever he can get at this point.
“I think any football is better than no football,” Day said during a teleconference on Wednesday. “My thought process during all of this is we need to look at all options … I certainly think it’s worth talking about and exploring based on the parameters that are set over the next three to four months.”
Day echoed comments made by Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith last Friday in saying that the biggest obstacle to the idea of playing without fans is the question of whether players would be safe to play if it’s not safe enough for fans to attend the games.
Another idea that has been floated around is a shortened schedule that only includes conference games. While not ideal, Day said his team will adapt to whatever is decided, doubling down on the idea that any model that includes football being played is better than a canceled season.
“We’ll do whatever we need to and we’ll make it work, whatever they tell us the parameters are,” Day said. “We’ll adapt and we’ll play. We know during these times, there are a lot of unique situations, so we’re OK with adapting. We’d obviously love to play the whole season, and we’re expecting to play the whole season, but if that’s what happens then we’ll figure it out.”
Before any potential season models can truly be discussed, conversations must first be centered around what will be needed for players returning to campus before they can be expected to be adequately prepared to play a football season. Day said that in talking to various figures around college football, a six-week window of preparation is “a great starting point” in conversations on when a season may ultimately begin.
From there, Day said season models can then be developed with a better timeline in mind.
Asked how he is handling the uncertainty and fluidity surrounding the season, Day said all he can do is take it one day at a time.
“Hopefully, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Day said of trying to prepare for a season that may not exist. “It’s a very unique situation, and we just try to do the best we can, day in and day out. I felt like once we got done with the (2019) season and got into spring ball, that was the first time in two years where I took half a deep breath and said, ‘OK, I’m kinda getting my feet in the ground here … and then we get three practices of spring out of the way and here comes the quarantine.”
Day, who has had to deal with being thrust into coaching in Urban Meyer’s absence in 2018 before going through his first full season as a head coach last season, said the current circumstances feel like they’re in line with what he’s already experienced in his time at Ohio State.
“It’s been almost like it has for the last three years, which is doing the best we can to maximize today because tomorrow, we’re not quite sure what is going to happen,” Day said. “And we’re good at that. I think our staff is doing an excellent job.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.