By Stu Hill, Sr. Director, Concepting and Caleb Bishop, Conceptor
What you’re about to read is a desperate attempt by two college football fans, who happen to be creative professionals, to see their favorite teams play a little pigskin this fall. Sure, 2020 has been hard in ways we could’ve never predicted, but we’d savor every second of our alma mater’s disappointing us on the field.
The fact of the matter is that college football is disappearing, and no one seems to be doing anything about it. Honestly, what’s wrong with you people? Yes, we recognize that some conferences are still holding out hope, but even if they play, the “champion” is going to have a record-breakingly huge asterisk by their name in the proverbial record book. Nobody wants that.
Some people think we can push the season back and play in the spring. It’s a nice sentiment, right? Wrong. As much as we hate agreeing with him (our schools are in the SEC), Alabama head coach Nick Saban has spoken up on the matter. “I think one of the real consequences of this is, if you’re a junior or a senior and you have an NFL grade, are you going to play in the spring?” No, Mr. Saban. Probably not. “Or is that going to become sort of a JV season with a lot of these juniors and seniors opting out?” Ouch. I think I’d rather not have a season than have a JV pity season.
So, what do we do? Great question. We think we have a simple solution that doesn’t get us a whole season, but it does get us some college football action: Rivalry Bubbles.
The NBA and NHL have proven that bubbles could be the savior of sports. For five straight weeks, with over 300 players, the NBA hasn’t had a single positive test since they’ve been in the bubble. The NHL bubble has had similarly stellar results, having administered 14,258 tests through August 8 without a single sick bubbler. Bubbles just work, and we believe they can work to give us a small, stout dose of college football this fall.
Without further ado, here’s how to save college football in three easy steps.
Step One: Identify the biggest rivalries in college football that still want to play in 2020.
As of today, some of the biggest rivalry games in college football have been canceled. However, we know a staggering number of college athletes want to play, as evidenced by Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields’ #WeWantToPlay petition reaching nearly 300,000 signatures in just two days. Even though their conferences have canceled their seasons, what if we brought joy to Justin and hundreds of thousands of others by giving him the chance to safely rival it up with Michigan, bubble style?
Step Two: Create a Rivalry Bubble.
College football rivals who want to participate will enter a two-team bubble together for no longer than one month on a neutral-site location. Using bubble protocol from the NHL and NBA, we’ll isolate the two teams and limit their interactions with non-bubblers. The players will still be able to participate in e-learning from their universities while preparing to play in their Rivalry Bubble.
Step Three: Play a best-of-three game series in said Rivalry Bubble.
During their month in the bubble, the teams will prepare for and play a best-of-three game series to determine the rivalry winner. For example, Texas and Oklahoma could both stay in a bubble in Dallas and play a best-of-three game series at AT&T Stadium on consecutive Saturdays. The first team to win two games wins the series and the Golden Hat. That’s the weird trophy for Texas vs. OU, in case you were wondering. Not nearly as cool as other rivalry trophies like the Jeweled Shillelagh, Paul Bunyan’s Axe, or the Platypus Trophy. If we’re starting a hashtag here, we’re proposing #SaveThe2020PlatypusTrophy.
You probably have some questions. We do too, but we have tentative answers for some of them.
Who’s going to pay for these bubbles? Didn’t the NBA Bubble cost $150 Million?
Big time college football sponsors are already concerned about the ROI on college football this season, so this could be a way for them to reallocate those dollars. Plus, the Rivalry Bubble would create new opportunities for additional sponsors with the unique format, timing, and TV schedule.
How does the timing work?
Timing and spacing of bubbles are going to be key if we want to get TV time in an already packed sports schedule. We can’t have every huge rivalry game in one Saturday, so some of the Rivalry Bubbles will start a little later in the season to accommodate schedules and stretch the “season” out from September to January.
What’s the upside to this complicated and ludicrous plan?
1. College football actually happens.
2. It’s safe for all of the players to play.
3. Multiple rivalry games every Saturday during the “season” means happy fun times for fans, and if there’s one thing we could all use a little more of in 2020, it’s happy fun times.
4. Players get a chance to show their stuff on the field and make their case for playing in the NFL.
And now, we have a question for you – who says no? If you like this plan, please forward it Justin Fields, Adam Silver, The Rock, or anyone else you think should know.