Ask Mike, 8-10

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Q. Okay let’s start things off with our weekly Covid-19 update.

A. Big news Alyssa starting yesterday when SI.com and ESPN began reporting that the college football season was close to being cancelled.
It turned out they were reporting what sources were saying about the Big 10 and Pac 12 not every power five conference. But they implied that if those two conferences opted out the others would follow.

The next thing that happened was this message on social media from the entire Arkansas State football team. Let’s look at it:

“We can say with overwhelming conviction that not only do we want to play the 2020 season, but that we are also confident the appropriate steps are being taken to ensure we do so in a safe manner with everyone’s health and well-being the top priority.”

Last night there was this from Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence:

“Let’s work together to create a situation where we can play the game that all of us love. Not divide and argue. There is a way forward.”

Now this from Florida running back Lorenzo Linguard:

“I want to play….even if we gotta be locked in….nothing at home for me.”

Does that not say it all for a lot of this kids?

Now early this morning Arkansas’ Hunter Yuracheck became the first AD to publicly endorse playing the season. He Tweeted:

“On behalf of the @RazorbackFB
team (that includes my son) and each of @ArkRazorbacks
student-athletes that I represent, serve, support, care for, fight for and love. #WeWantToPlay”

And finally this from Sam Pittman: “The way our student athletes have handled these uncertain times is incredible and our staff is so proud of them. As the Head Coach of @RazorbackFB
#WeWantToPlay”

Apparently one attorney says he is representing players from those conferences who want safety assurances but most appeared to be okay with what’s being done to keep them safe and they want to play.

If the college football season just got saved give thanks to the players. They’re the ones who should have been listened to first all along. Also much credit goes to the ASU football team as the first to speak out and Hunter Yuracheck who became the first AD to speak out.
Supposedly the Big 10 is going to cancel its season tomorrow night with some saying the Pac 12 will follow. We’ll see. The SEC and ACC have said they still plan on playing.

Q. myriad_rocker who wants to know: Do you think that UConn cancelling their season could be a sign of things to come for others? The thought did cross my mind that the dominoes would start to fall as soon as I read about it

A. I don’t think what UCONN does means anything beyond UCONN. But as we mentioned the the Big 10 and the Pac 12 may opt out. We’ll see.

Q. #hammerdown asks: If the “#WeAreUnited” group gains traction, do you see this spreading to all of the Power 5 schools? Do you suspect the schools will play with the players that want to be there or will they give in to the demands.

A: The #WeAreUnited group is a group from the Pac 12 that wants approval of safety measures and apparently wants part of the revenue from college football. Lawyers are involved. That’s never good.T hey are the opposite of the WeWantToPlay movement that is making few or no demands and they are not threatening to refuse ot play.

Q. Lanny wants to know: Of the SEC schools with new coaches which do you see will have the most adjustments this season? Which has the best chance for a successful season in 2020?

A, Man that’s gonna take a heavy dose of guessing. Mike Leach’s offense is so different I’ll go with Mississippi State as the school with the most adjustments. Kendal Briles offense is supposedly easy to learn. The biggest adjustment is with the speed of it. You have to go fast. Having Feleipe Franks at quarterback will help with that. I’ll go with Arkansas as having the best chance of success.

Q. DeltaBoy wants to know: Any word on this year’s uniforms?

A. Not a thing. With all that’s going on with COVID, the SEC schedule and the various safety protocols nobody has asked Sam Pittman about uniforms. It would almost seem to of place. We’re likely going to have to wait a while for that.

Q. BloodRedHog asks: With the new SEC football practice schedule and delay to the start of the season is this not a win for Sam Pittman?
It appears he will have more practice time with the team than he would have had with a traditional spring practice/fall camp.

A. They way it was originally set up yes, But last week the start of fall camp was delayed two weeks plus new guidelines were put in place to limit the number of hours players can work during camp. The end result is about what coach Pittman would have had if the season had started on time. It’s still going to be difficult. Especially with an all SEC schedule of games.

Q. LZH says: Most of the better teams we may play this year lost quite a bit thru the draft or graduation. Any chance that might be a good thing considering we seem to have a better roster than last year and much better coaching this year?

A. Well that’s one of the positives for sure. LSU and Auburn lost a lot. Alabama too. The problem is that’s likely not going be enough to change the outcome of those games. I’m looking at Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Missouri as the best chances for a win. Auburn maybe. A&M might be a possibility. It depends on how much better Arkansas is under this new staff.

Q. RiverValleyHog55 asks: Have you heard if NCAA/SEC officials will have the authority to penalize a team for violating some new COVID-19 rule/guidelines? If you haven’t heard anything to this regard, do you think that is coming next?

A. I have not heard anything but that’s a good guess. Those guidelines will have to be taken seriously. Penalties would be a good way to enforce them.

Q. sowmonella says: Look into your crystal ball and give me your best guess as to when we become competitive again in the SEC?

A. Competitive means different things to different people. I think they will be more competitive this year because I think you’ll see better effort. Fewer silly screwups. Competitive in terms in making some serious moves in the SEC west? I’d say two years. Three at the most.

DeltaBoy is back with this question: Are you serious about us courting the Big 12?

A. Okay that’s not even close to what I said about the way the SEC shafted Arkansas and a few other teams in this add on schedule announced last week. I said if I were Arkansas AD that’s what I would do. Clearly I’m not the AD and never will be. I was just expressing my opinion about way the SEC has treated Arkansas over the last 15 years or so. When Roy Kramer was the conference commissioner all schools were treated equally. Mike Slive and Greg Sankey after him have allowed politics to creep in. Plus I don’t like the way some SEC fans have a snobby attitude about Arkansas. I’m sure that happens in all conferences but it’s worse in the SEC. But look, Arkansas is not leaving the SEC. A fan poll this past week showed that only about 30% of them think it would be a good idea. I do agree with those who say that the best way to changes attitudes is to win in football. So hopefully that will happen. And let’s give the SEC credit for stepping up in the face of Big Ten rumors about cancelling the football season. The SEC had a plan. They’ve stuck with it with the proper safety protocols and Yurachek became the face of the SEC on Monday letting everybody know that they’re moving forward.

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