God forbid, there’s no football this fall. This coronavirus has wreaked havoc on our economy, our population’s health and our sanity. But the death knell would be the cancellation of football. I would lose it. The next possible scenario is football with no fans, and it’s a real possibility, especially the first month of the college football season.
Best case, we’re back to normal by July and fall camp starts on time, campuses are open and we can get drunk at a tailgate without having to sip through a mask. But, in case the government tells us we shouldn’t be sitting next to each other, yelling and germinating all over the place, here’s a few potential upsets that could happen if the home team has no fans in the stands in September.
Michigan at Washington
The Wolverines are about a point favorite at the moment at Husky Stadium, so no real upset here if Khaki Jim pulls it off. Who really knows with unknowns at quarterback for both teams, but the absence of crowd noise on Lake Washington will make the debut of Dylan McCaffrey or Joe Milton that much easier.
Southern Cal vs Alabama, Jerry World
Bama fans would likely make their way to Arlington, Texas, for this neutral site showdown after being quarantined in that god-awful state for nearly five months (I was born in LA, lower Alabama, so don’t @ me). The Tide are two touchdown favorites and the Trojans will bring some firepower on offense, so without the fans, USC could pull the … yeah, I don’t really think it will happen either.
Tennessee at Oklahoma
Oklahoma is breaking in a new quarterback, and Tennessee is one of the hottest teams of the offseason. The Vols still don’t have a quality signal caller, but that offensive line is one of the best in football. Oklahoma, at 7-point favorite early, is pretty good up front, too, and Jeremy Pruitt still hasn’t closed the talent gap with elites yet. Still, without fans in Norman, it gives a young Tennessee team reason for hope. Still, Georgia State …
Texas at LSU
Texas returns the favor after a 2019 showdown in Austin that gave us an early glimpse of what Joe Burrow would do. Now, the Tigers get Texas and veteran gunslinger Sam Elhinger in Baton Rouge’s Death Valley with no Burrow and nearly its entire offense gone (save for Ja’Marr Chase). No rowdy Cajuns, no “Neck” chant from the class of Louisiana, no pregame heartburn. That would just be weird, man. The Longhorns could make it close without the homefield advantage.
Oregon vs. Ohio State
Oregon’s governor has already said she wanted everything shut down until September or later, so this primetime game looks fan-less at the moment. Autzen Stadium can get loud despite its size, so that’s a real advantage for the Buckeyes, who’ll be a road favorite to begin with. Justin should have a “Fields’ Day.”
North Carolina vs Auburn, Atlanta
Interesting matchup that likely favors Auburn in the Benz with butts in the seats. The Tar Heels and Mack Brown are red hot on the recruiting trail right now and have built momentum to be challengers in the ACC. An upset over a mercurial Tigers squad with sophomore Bo Nix and a solid defense would be big. No fans favors UNC.
Georgia at Alabama
Big-time matchup in SEC territory. Tide fans may riot if they try to close Bryant-Denny for a night game under the (LED) lights. An empty stadium favors the Dawgs, and if Jamie Newman can get right in a new Georgia offense, this one could get interesting. Still, Mac Jones has plenty of weapons, and he’ll need them against a nasty Dawgs defense. Should be fun with or without the fans, but let’s hope we don’t even have to consider it come late September.
Appalachian State at Wisconsin
Why on earth would you schedule App State? Seems like they beat a quality Power 5 every year. Ask Michigan, Tennessee, South Carolina … just don’t do it Wisconsin. Too late. Camp Randall’s crowd would be a big help, and the Badgers will be heavy favorites, but with no fans, the smart money will likely be on the boys from Boone.