The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the ACC are thus far adamant about going forward with the coming football season, even as others show signs of wavering. However, this horrific year has taught us even the most solid of expectations can be undone; the firmest assurances may have to be revisited. It behooves us to prepare ourselves for potential cancellation, even as we cling to hope.
Part of that is acceptance on an emotional level, processing that this thing we love may be withheld from us for another year. Another part of it is more practical: we need to find something to do on Saturdays in the fall. For a lot of fans, college football isn’t just about the sport, but about the social calendar it creates - the game watches, tailgates, etc. A lot of that wasn’t going to happen this year anyway, but if the season were to be cancelled in its entirety that would be another matter. Let’s dive into a few other ways you could survive, and even thrive, amid a cancelled college football season.
Down here in the state-sized sauna that calls itself Texas, summer weather usually persists into the month of October. The same is likely true for you if you live in Florida, California, or one of many other warm-weather spots throughout the South and Southwest. Down here, what marks the changing seasons more than anything else is the start of the football season, which shifts the locus of social life from the pool party to the game watch. Even though the seasons have yet to meaningfully change, classic “summer” activities - especially those that take place by or in the water - suddenly feel out of order, like Christmas carols in January.
With no football, that feeling of incongruity wouldn’t be a problem. September is suddenly just another month, and down here it’s just as hot as the one that preceded it. So if your ideal form of recreation involves boats, beaches, hanging out poolside or otherwise attempting to recreate a Corona commercial, you now have to a few extra Saturdays to find your beach.
Even after the weather has cooled down, fall is a still great time of year to embrace outdoor activities like camping, hiking, fishing, and more. Even something as simple as a game of touch football is a gift to the soul and will help you make lasting memories with the people you share it with.
This may also be a chance for you to knock out some classic fall activities: apple picking, pumpkin patch visits and the like. If you enjoy such activities, you now have more time to explore them; if you don’t, you can take this opportunity to placate your spouse/significant other without having to risk missing the game.
If you or a friend have a projector I’d also recommend an outdoor movie night, especially around Halloween. Throw on a scary movie or a classic theme-fitting comedy like Young Frankenstein or Ghostbusters, get yourself some fall beers and a big bowl of popcorn and you’re in for a great evening. Unless the movie you want to watch is Hocus Pocus, in which case put that thing in the trash where it belongs.
This may be a way to actually help your life improve as a result of college football being gone, as you try new things, forge fun memories with valued people, and create some new traditions you can find ways to continue when football comes back.
Pretend it’s 2012
This is a possibility that some friends of mine are already discussing in the event of the season being cancelled: what if we still watched college football games on Saturdays, but pulled them from the most fun, magical season we experienced (which in our case was also our freshman year)?
The oultine of this plan is simple: for each week of the would-be 2020 season, watch the corresponding game from 2012. Among other things, this would mean getting to watch a season opener against the Navy Midshipmen in Dublin after all.
Besides the fun of revisiting an string of memorable games - the cathartic smothering of the Michigan Wolverines, the thrilling overtime triumph over the Stanford Cardinal, the no-way-this-is-really-happening statement win over the Oklahoma Sooners, the heart-attack-inducing upset scare against the Pittsburgh Panthers, sealing the deal against the USC Trojans - and reminiscing about the good times we had when they were happening, pretending it’s 2012 can make your life better in numerous ways. Old-new realities you can embrace include:
- Brent Musburger is still calling most of Notre Dame’s road games.
- Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” is taking the country by storm.
- The following movies either just came out or are about to be released: Skyfall, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises. Additionally, the first installment in the Hobbit trilogy is about to premiere, and we don’t know it’s going to suck.
- The apocalypse is still fodder for jokes (remember the Mayan calendar?) instead of feeling like it’s slowly happening one day at a time.
- There’s still a presidential election going on, but it’s between two candidates who are under 70 and can finish complete sentences without either trailing off into infantile braggadocio or forgetting what they were talking about in the first place.
As we all know, there was no postseason in 2012, so no need to find a game to watch in January 2021. You should take a break then anyway just to give yourself a reward for reaching the finish line of 2020.