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MMQB - Would You Rather

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Some football is better than no football, right?

Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Big Ten has announced its fall schedule.

High level players are beginning to announce their intentions to sit out this season.

Everything very well may get started and then shut down again if (when) cases start spreading due to college students being college students and spreading the ‘Rona.

MMQB asks: Would you rather watch a partial season with the full team playing, or a full season with the third-string players?

Now, before I get lambasted by people saying that it’s unfair for me to ask the third-stringers to play, while all of the higher profile players get to sit out in safety: that’s not what I’m asking. This isn’t a real-world application, I’m not emperor, I can’t take the third-string players and put them in a bubble before duking it out, meanwhile the first- and second-team players get to stay safe elsewhere.

No, this is a straight up thought experiment. A hypothetical. Speculation and conjecture. Not that anyone actually READS the article beyond those fancy bold words up there before running to the comments, but, y’know, there it is.

Anyway.

MMQB’s official position is: give me that sweet third-string action.

Look, college football is hands down the thing I am most invested in outside of family and work. The long off-season is torture, recruiting can be agonizing, watching your team give up double-digit leads in the fourth quarter to lose by one point in back-to-back years will haunt your dreams with “what ifs” for years.

And yet, every autumn, here I am.

I watch the good guys in blue and white clash with the bad guys in all of the wrong colors. From August through January, all is right with the world. Once the Lions are done for the day, I’ll turn on William & Mary vs Delaware if there’s nothing else to watch.

Now, more than ever, I use sports as an escape. Not having any sport from mid-March until the MLB, NBA, and NHL resumed games in late July made me realize just how much I depend on sports as white noise. Water cooler conversation. One of those things you don’t even realize is on the TV in the background until you wander past the living room, take a second to watch somebody you’ve never heard of strike out some other body you’ve never heard of, then continue on with whatever you were doing.

With all of that in mind, starting up the season this fall, only to have it end early is going to be awfully tough on my psyche. Will it be the right decision if (when) COVID-19 cases start to spike, and players start getting it? Absolutely. Will it crush my morale, after just starting to get my hopes up with the return of sports? Definitely. An abbreviated season wherein I get to see (most of) the big stars on the field will just end up feeling hollow, and will ultimately mean that we go from January 2020 to September 2021 without any really meaningful college football.

That idea sucks and I reject it in this imaginary world I’ve created.

Instead, if I could somehow ensure that a full season would be played, but it’s the third-stringers playing, I would happily be on my couch every weekend from September through early January.

Think about it. The relative play will be lower overall, but it will still be competitive. Will teams like Bama, OSU, and Clemson still kill it because of recruiting? Most likely, yes.

But what about the unsung heroes of the world? The walk-on turned superstar? The 2-star guy who barely got any offers, who somehow ends up being a first round draft choice? Those guys will get to show out.

You’d get to see just how well your team does in preparing all of its players for a season. You’d get to see just how well your team does at recruiting. And, perhaps most importantly, you’d get to see a whole season of football!

So, to me, if I could somehow ensure the safety of the players, I would trade an abbreviated season with the entire team for a full season with the third-stringers every day of the week and twice on Saturdays.

But what say you dear reader?