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Coronavirus looks like the big winner in this college football season: Issues & Answers

It looks like the coronavirus is winning.

College football’s insistence on pressing ahead with a 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic has turned into a jumble of positive tests and postponed games.

The virus hit the SEC this week like an untouched, blitzing linebacker. The SEC thought it had the money and resources to take on the pandemic, and it’s beginning to look like it couldn’t the job done.

This week’s Missouri-Vanderbilt and Florida-LSU games have been postponed. Coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne are among those to test positive at Alabama. The Crimson Tide played Mississippi last week, and guess what? Ole Miss has an outbreak this week.

Here are some national perspectives:

Christine Brennan of USA Today: As big and bad as the SEC is, it’s getting whipped by coronavirus.

Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated: SEC’s COVID surge is a predictable result of pandemic football.

Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com: With COVID-19 slapping the SEC upside the head, how will the rest of this season play out?

Dodd writes: “The SEC may soon have to consider pausing the season, though this is not to blame the conference specifically. The SEC has been out front with its protocols. Until this week, its plan to wait until Sept. 26 to start the season looked brilliant.”

Yeah, and the Christmas Eve party at Nakatomi Plaza was going well until the terrorists showed up.

As this story by Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger notes, every time a college football team leaves campus to travel to an away game, chances multiply that it will come into contact with the virus.

Shane Speights, dean of the NYIT medical school at Arkansas State, tells Dellinger: “You can’t test your way out of a pandemic. These tests aren’t 100%. We hang our hat on just the test results. It’s putting all your eggs in one basket.”

That’s bad news for the Pac-12, which is starting a football season on Nov. 7 largely based on using Quidel Corporation’s rapid-result tests to test daily.

But how accurate are those tests? Questions are being raised.

The SEC, at least, planned for coronavirus disruptions by scheduling open dates into which postponed games could be moved. The Pac-12 schedule, which calls for seven games in seven weeks, did not.

More on the SEC’s messy week further down in the post.

OK, more links:

Oregon State running back Jermar Jefferson assumes a leadership role on the offense.

The defense has owned OSU’s practices to date, and that is fine with QB Tristan Gebbia.

Brandon Kidder appears likely to remain at right tackle for the Beavers.

OSU coach Jonathan Smith appeared on John Canzano’s radio show to talk about quarterbacks, crowd noise, audibles and more.

This Oregon State quarterback competition looks competitive. (G-T)

Beavers have lots of options on the offensive line. (G-T)

OSU offensive lineman Onesimus Clarke opts out of the 2020 season. Clarke was thought to be the frontrunner to start at left guard.

Five things you might have forgotten about the Beavers. (NBCSN)

It looks like Oregon’s new offense believes in explosion plays.

UO freshman linebackers Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe push for playing time.

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal says the Ducks have some transfers who will make an immediate impact. (R-G)

Senior Johnny Johnson heads up Oregon’s strong receiving group. (R-G)

UO running back CJ Verdell is taking Justin Herbert’s advice to heart. (NBCSN)

Unselfish Daewood Davis is an asset for the Ducks.

UO coordinators Andy Avalos and Joe Moorhead emphasize team culture. (Oregon Daily Emerald)

Ducks finally are getting to take shots in Moorhead’s offense. (The Athletic)

Ducks move ahead with full-padded practices.

UO offensive Chris Randazzo opts out of the 2020 season because of coronavirus concerns.

Oregon fans are being offered a chance to purchase cutouts of themselves to put in otherwise empty Autzen Stadium seats.

Pac-12 CEO group votes to allow parents and other family members to attend football games and other athletic competitions this fall. (Daily Star)

Local health authorities will have the final say about whether Pac-12 programs can allow family members to watch games in person. (Deseret News)

The Pac-12 is back, but don’t expect all the revenue to return with it. (Lewiston Morning Tribune)

Five surprising findings from USA Today’s survey of college football coaching salaries.

Those COVID cuts to salaries of football coaches aren’t always what they seem. (USA Today)

Even teams with losing records will be bowl eligible this season. (USA Today)

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times: Washington OC John Donovan will take his time to pick a starting QB.

Edefuan Ulofoshio and Jackson Sirmon lead Washington’s young linebackers. (TNT)

Ulofoshio and Sirmon hope to improve the Huskies’ play at inside linebacker this season. (Husky Maven)

Why a former walk-on could be the key to a resurgent UW run defense. (Seattle Times)

Huskies are eager to usher in the Jimmy Lake era. (R-G)

Who will step up at receiver for Washington? SportsPac12)

A look inside the Huskies’ COVID-19 testing procedures. (TNT)

The Garbers brothers — Cal’s Chase and Washington’s Ethan — had plenty to say about their season opener. (Husky Maven)

Other Pac-12 players have opted out, but Washington State RB Max Borghi never considered it. (Seattle Times)

WSU defensive back Skyler Thomas is back in the transfer portal. (Lewiston Morning Tribune)

At Cal, a COVID survivor keeps watch on football’s return. (New York Times)

Former Cal running back C.J. Anderson is back with the Bears as a volunteer coach. (Cal Sports Report)

Drew Schlegel is Cal’s current fullback and a future alpaca farmer. (Cal Sports Report)

Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando finally gets an eyeful of the USC defense. (SCNG)

Orlando has some high standards. (Yahoo/Los Angeles Times)

Kedon Slovis and Graham Harrell are the relationship that makes USC’s offense click. (The Athletic)

Trojans look for the right combination on the offensive line. (SCNG)

Drake Jackson will have a hybrid role on USC’s defense. (All Trojans)

Combo back Demetric Felton welcomes a bigger role in the UCLA offense. (SCNG)

UCLA’s inexperienced offensive line is optimistic. (SCNG)

Packing on the pounds during the pandemic actually was a positive for UCLA’s offensive linemen. (Yahoo/Los Angeles Times)

Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News: Might Utah take the shackles off of the offense? It’s possible.

Safety R.J. Hubert gives Utah one answer in the secondary. There are more questions. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Utah might pick a starting quarterback soon, but that doesn’t mean anybody outside the program will know. (Deseret News)

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham expects his team to reload and respond. (R-G)

Whittingham took one of the biggest pandemic pay cuts in the country. (Deseret News)

Utah has work to do on defense, and is ready to do it. (The Athletic)

Arizona’s Grant Gunnell-to-Boobie Curry passing combination has a long history. (Daily Star)

Fall practices barely have begun and already Arizona defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads is scrambling. (Daily Star)

Arizona State plugs grad-transfers into holes on the line. (Arizona Republic)

Three candidates in Arizona State’s search for a top pass rusher. (The Athletic)

The Stanford football team is back on campus for practice. (Stanford Daily)

Short season and favorable schedule give Stanford a chance to rebound in 2020. (SportsPac12)

Jalen Sami is among the leaders on Colorado’s defensive line. (Daily Camera)

CU offensive lineman Colby Pursell found creative ways to work out during the pandemic lockdown. (Daily Camera)

Pete Thamel of Yahoo: In the middle of a bad week, the SEC vows to press one.

Alabama coach Nick Saban and AD Greg Byrne test positive for coronavirus leading into this week’s game with Georgia.

This week’s game between Florida and LSU has been postponed until December because of a coronavirus outbreak among the Gators.

Florida pauses football activities because of a COVID outbreak. (Sports Illustrated)

Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin says his team is dealing with a coronavirus outbreak. (USA Today)

Positive tests at Cincinnati scuttle this week’s game against Tulsa. (ESPN)

Arizona State study shows college football lags behind the pros when it comes to hiring coaches of color. (Daily Star)

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens and Oregon State AD Scott Barnes offer perspective on the name, image and likeness issue.

NCAA will vote in January to change name, image and likeness rules.

NCAA petitions the Supreme Court to preserve amateurism. (USA Today)

Knight Commission survey finds significant support for the Power 5 Conferences breaking away to form their own classification. (Sports Illustrated)

— Ken Goe

kgoe@oregonian.com | @KenGoe

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