2020 college football season in question

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The 2020 college football season hasn’t been completely canceled yet due to COVID-19 concerns, but it’s getting close as two of the five power conferences surrendered their fall sports seasons. The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced a revised football schedule on a Thursday and four days later last Tuesday they threw in the towel. No football for you. Meanwhile, the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 still have every intention of making their seasons happen.

The reality of it in regards to championships is that neither the Pac-12 nor Big Ten is a big contributor to recent National Championships with Ohio State’s title in 2014 being the only win among those schools since the 2004 USC squad had its title revoked. The SEC, ACC, and Big 12 (Texas in 2005) has won 15 of the last 16 Championships.

The impact felt in Nevada will be seen in the final football revenue numbers because of having far fewer games from a normal year. 

In 2019, it was a record year with $5.3 billion in handle, up 6.2% from 2018. The football category, pro and college combined, generated $1.9 billion in write and $122.4 million in win. The consensus around most sportsbooks is that up to 40% of those figures came from college football. Fewer games mean less action for 2020. 

 Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook manager Ed Salmons summed up the possible loss of games well and how it will affect them.

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 “In our football category, two-thirds of our action is pro football and a third of it is college football, and while we’ll have incremental money coming in on other sports like the NBA and NHL that we wouldn’t normally have that will help alleviate the possible loss of college football, those two leagues are eventually going to end in October with teams getting eliminated along the way, so they can’t possibly make up the difference of having around 50 games a week through November like college football,” Salmons said. “And we’ll also miss two months of steady college hoops action (calendar year), they’re not going to start if football doesn’t, right?” 

So not only will the football figures be off a bit, but it’s also taking a bite out of college basketball as well, and then we can also figure even less action with over-the-counter wagers because of fewer people staying in the hotels. The 2020 sportsbook numbers were already going to be awful due to the books being closed for almost three months but having limited college action will be felt. 

“Everything is off on college football, we have no idea what’s going to happen so we can’t offer numbers,” Salmons said.

Salmons had some wide-ranging theories why the Pac-12 and Big Ten canceled so soon and one of them made a lot of sense to me. 

“It just doesn’t make sense to cancel unless they had an insurance policy to still get paid if a season was lost, but they had to declare the season lost by Aug. 11 or no money, something like that,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to me to announce so early.”

No, it doesn’t. Of course, it’s all about the safety of these student-athletes. But the campuses might be the safest place for them to be.

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“Oklahoma players were all fine on campus during practices and when they went home, nine of them caught it,” Salmons said. “It’s safer for the kids to stay at school and follow strict guidelines rather than to send them back home. Look at the Marlins who had 18 players or coaches get and after a couple of weeks they’re all fine.”

The Big Ten and Pac-12 closing their seasons opens up several new issues.

“Ohio State campaigned so hard, all their coaches and players,” Salmons said. “They all wanted to play bad. So now what? Do the recruits who want to play get to transfer and play this year? Do the star players at Ohio State get to transfer if they want to play? I don’t know.”

Ohio State QB Justin Fields got over 230,000 signatures as an attempt to show the school the players, students, and fans were in solidarity wanting to play the season. Why does Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence get to play in 2020 and Fields doesn’t? Is it about politics and the party of governors in each state?

“I don’t think so, Ohio is a red state, right?” Salmons said.

And in places like Iowa, the Hawkeyes won’t play as Big Ten members, but the Cyclones of Iowa State will because they’re in the Big 12.

“If it’s just ACC, SEC, and the Big 12, I think the games will be better than usual just because they won’t be playing those small schools,” Salmons said.

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