Peterson: Two Cy-Hawk football games in one regular season? It's a longshot, but possible.
I’ll jump right to the chase:
Iowa State and Iowa could play football against each other twice during the 2020 season.
Once again: A series that interrupted the 42 years between 1934 and 1977 suddenly could include a rematch of a game that’s currently scheduled Sept. 12 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.
Is it unlikely? Yes.
Could it happen, though? Yes.
“This is a time when things that wouldn’t be at all acceptable on normal circumstance might be acceptable,” Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said to me last week.
Like two Cy-Hawk games?
“You could find two schools that both got jilted and can’t play their regularly scheduled games on a given Saturday,” Bowlsby surmised. “They could get together.
“I don’t think it’s inconceivable that if we had a fairly substantial number of (coronavirus) outbreaks, that teams would play each other more than once. You’d sure rather play a repeat game than not play at all.”
► The latest from USA TODAY: Schools reporting positive tests among athletes
Last week’s eye-opening, yet anticipated disclosure about how many college football players testing positive for COVID-19 makes this far-out Cy-Hawk idea almost sound plausible.
Bowlsby and I spoke before Kansas State’s Saturday announcement that voluntary football workouts would be suspended two weeks after the program returned 14 positive tests. We spoke before news broke about defending national champion LSU having 30 football players quarantined for either testing positive for COVID or being in the vicinity of someone who had tested positive. We spoke before Clemson announced 23 positive-testing football players, and before Texas announced 13.
How many positive tests equates to no game? How many positive tests equals no college football for 2020? There’s still so much to be considered, learned, planned and resolved as we near the opening of the season.
“It’s a Rubik’s Cube of how you’re moving through all this,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich told Yahoo Sports recently. “It’s very difficult right now. I almost think it’s part of the process to get us where we need to be.”
Positive tests happen locally, too.
Two weeks ago, Iowa State announced two of 147 football players and staff were among 10 student-athletes who tested positive.
The last we heard from the University of Iowa was three positive COVID-19 tests, but nothing about whether it was athletes or staff.
Expect to hear more reports, nationally, while nearing the July 13 date when mandatory football workouts can start. Positive tests will happen. You’re in denial if you don’t know it.
You can mandate that student-athletes stay out of the campus bar scene. You can’t keep them away from non-athlete students who don’t take serious the repeated warnings about social distancing, wearing masks and staying out of dangerously viral shoulder-to-shoulder situations.
Voluntary workouts end during the first full week of July. Mandatory workouts begin around July 13. The quick transition ensures that players stay within the environment they’ve been in since early June. It's an environment that includes testing and as-needed medical attention.
Will home teams continue to stay in hotels on the Fridays before games? What happens if a player develops COVID-19 symptoms during a road trip? Does he return on the same chartered airplane as his teammates, or does he quarantine in the town of the game?
Do mid-major non-conference opponents test to the same extent as Power Five opponents? What happens if some teams play 10 games and others get in just seven?
“I don’t think we’re all going to be similarly situated,” Bowlsby said. “I can’t say how many games we’ll play. The virus will decide that for us.”
The virus also will determine if a last-minute cancellation could mean a rematch.
“That’s a good example,” Bowlsby said, “of a decision that will have to be made in real-time.”
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been writing for the Des Moines Register for parts of six decades. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers the Cyclones like the Register. Subscribe today at DesMoinesRegister.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.