College Football in Texas an off field grind to play games
Last updated 11/18/2020 at 12:26am
As college football’s regular season heads into its final month in the Lone Star State, all but one of the 12 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools have played at least six games on their respective coronavirus-abbreviated schedules. Rice didn’t open its 2020 season until early October.
Nine of the 12 have had at least one game on their revised schedules affected by their own positive COVID-19 tests or those of an opponent, according to an article appearing in Sunday’s edition of The Houston Chronicle.
Last weekend alone, Texas A&M and Rice were idle because their games against Tennessee and Louisiana Tech, respectively, were postponed. Nationally, 15 games were either postponed or canceled last weekend. The Aggie’s game this Saturday against Ole Miss has been rescheduled for December 19th.
Each Sunday a new set of checklists and guidelines must be negotiated by the players and staff members even before they can think about playing on any given Saturday.
“While each of the five conferences represented by the 12 Texas schools—the Big 12, American Athletic, Conference USA, Southeastern and Sun Belt—have their own weekly procedures, all are on the same approximate schedule,” the article pointed out.
Baylor players and staff members must undergo nasal pharyngeal polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests every Sunday or Monday with the results received within 24 hours. A second round of PCR tests are administered on Wednesday and rapid antigen tests take place Friday with results available in a couple of hours.
“If it’s a home game, we can let the visiting team know that we’re good to go,” said Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades. “And if it’s a road game, we’re waiting to hear from the other team that it’s OK to get on a bus or a plane.” Texas A&M uses Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday and receives results a day later, according to the article, using PCR tests in each case.
The American Conference, which includes SMU and Houston, created the American Conference Risk Assessment Tool (ACRAT) which computes positive cases, players in contact tracing quarantine and other factors to determine whether teams could be at risk to play.
Schools generally use Centers for Disease Control guidelines, which include 15 minutes of cumulative exposure over a 24-hour period to an infected person, as guidelines for placing a player or staff member into a two-week quarantine.
Players are restricted to their apartment or dorm room, but can participate in classes and team activities virtually.
Conferences have a minimum number of available players required for a game to take place—53 in the Big 12 and SEC—and some leagues call for seven offensive linemen, five interior defensive linemen and a quarterback to be certified as COVID-free or not quarantined for contact testing.
Many games involving the 12 FBS Texas schools have either been canceled or rescheduled this fall. Rice has had games against UTSA and Louisiana Tech canceled and the game against Southern Mississippi rescheduled for December.
Baylor has had games against Louisiana Tech and Houston canceled and a game against Oklahoma State rescheduled for Dec, 12. TCU had games against SMU and Tennessee Tech canceled, Texas A&M had Saturday’s game against Tennessee rescheduled for Dec. 12 while Texas and Texas State didn’t lose a game.
KWICKIES…For the second time during his interim status, Houston Texans’ Head Coach Romeo Crennel made the wrong decision that would have at least created a tie in Sunday’s game in Cleveland against the Browns. With fourth down and less than a yard for a touchdown, Crennel refused to kick a field goal to tie the game at 3-3 in the early going and went for the touchdown on a quarterback sneak. Deshaun Watson was hit by at least 11 Browns and thrown for a loss. Houston ended up losing 10-7 on a very blustery day.
Although Tiger Woods was not in the hunt on Sunday’s final round of the Masters, he took an unbelievable 10 on the Par 3 No. 12, hitting three balls into the water before finding the hole on his tenth shot. But instead of hanging his head and saying “Woe is me” Tiger proceeded to birdie five of the six remaining holes. His 76 equaled his worst score in any Masters as he finished the tourney 1-under par—19 strokes behind winner Dustin Johnson, who was helped into his Green Jacket by Tiger, last year’s Masters champion.
Besides getting crushed 38-3 last week by the New Orleans Saints, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers set an NFL record by running the football only five time the entire game.
Things like that happen when you behind 31-3 at halftime.
Even though I wasn’t much of a Green Bay Packer fan—when you’re a kid growing up in New York State your team automatically is the NY Giants—I really liked Paul Hornung, who played everywhere in Coach Vince Lombardi’s backfield. I was saddened that he died last weekend at age 84.
JUST BETWEEN US…The West Orange-Stark Mustangs had a bizarre start of the second half in their bi-district -playoff game against Sweeny Friday night. The ‘Stangs had a punt return for a touchdown on Sweeny’s first three-and-out series, a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that resulted in another touchdown and a pick-six on the next series—three touchdowns WITHOUT running a second-half offensive play in their 59-8 triumph over Sweeny. Things should be much different in Magnolia’s Bulldog
Stadium Friday night against China Spring. Tickets for Friday night’s area game can be purchased at the Mustangs athletic office today (Wed.) from 9 a.m. until noon and 1-4 and then Thursday from 9-noon only. They also can be bought at the gate Friday night.