Alabama, TCU could meet in Week 1 if unable to play USC, California, report says

Sporting News

Stay-at-home orders for Los Angeles County residents may continue into August and the California State University system is planning to operate mostly online this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. It's easy after seeing those news items to wonder how college football in the state fits into that picture.

People at Alabama reportedly are wondering the same thing. According to SEC Network host Paul Finebaum, Tide officials have had discussions with TCU officials about the teams playing each other in Week 1 if necessary. TCU is scheduled to play at Cal on Sept. 5, while Alabama is scheduled to play USC in Arlington, Texas, the same day.

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne made a brief response Tuesday night.

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FS1 host Colin Cowherd expanded on Finebaum's item Tuesday, tweeting that sources told him USC-Alabama won't be played and that the Pac-12 Conference may not play at all until next spring.

USC athletic director Mike Bohn, without naming names, pushed back on Twitter against "disinformation."

Not long after Cowherd's tweet, ESPN reported that NCAA president Mark Emmert said it will be up to state officials and university presidents, rather than the association, to decide when or whether fall sports can begin.

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USC and Cal aren't among the 23 campuses in the CSU system who will have the majority of fall classes online, but it's possible other California institutions will follow suit in the three months before classes are scheduled to begin.

Three CSU schools play in the Mountain West Conference: Fresno State, San Diego State and San Jose State. The presidents of those universities and MWC commissioner Craig Thompson said in a joint statement Tuesday, "No decisions on athletics have been made."

Obviously, a lot is still to be determined before an Alabama vs. TCU matchup would happen in Week 1. What will the coronavirus pandemic look like look in the coming months? If students aren't on college campuses in the fall, will there still be college football?

Emmert said this last week about the latter question: "All of the commissioners and every president that I've talked to is in clear agreement: If you don’t have students on campus, you don't have student-athletes on campus."

With so much up in the air, schools appear to be considering all possibilities while they also plan ahead.

Now, we all must wait to see how much their plans change.

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