Give the Southeastern Conference credit for keeping a straight face while giving us an actual football-related diversion Friday when it announced the two added games for each team's schedules.

It served its purpose in getting SEC fans bickering in all their preseason glory, convinced that the conference stayed up late plotting against them.

Dang refreshing if you ask me.

Even LSU fans were bickering because they had nothing to complain about, their favorite pastime.

The conference gave them a nice gift basket by serving up Vanderbilt and Missouri for the reigning national champion. It was better even than Alabama's, which got Missouri and better-than-you-think Kentucky.

What? Did the conference office move from Birmingham to Ville Platte?

But the August utopia was short-lived.

Saturday arrived and it was back to reality.

The actual dates for those games — and the previously scheduled ones ­— are still TBA, which gives them something in common with the whole season.

In other words, LSU, don't open that gift pack just yet.

Saturday dawned and it did not bode well for the season.

The big salvo came when the lovable Mid-American Conference Football announced it would ditch the fall season.

#MACtion ranks well down the Football Bowl Subdivision food chain, but the decision immediately spread fears that it might be a trend setter.

Before you knew it, you could imagine athletic directors and conference commissioners madly dashing back and forth, plugging leaks in a dike that kept spring new ones.

It occurred to me that if the Group of Five conferences all end up bailing, then the Power Fives will be in a pickle because it will be near impossible to practice social distancing in a jam-packed NCAA transfer portal.

Just another 2020 dilemma.

Major eyebrows were raised when the Big Ten, with all its resources, ordered its teams to hold off on donning pads for practice just yet.

Mmmmm.

Read into that would you may, but if you want to be trendy you must put it in the most negative light possible. Film at 11, perhaps?

The most optimistic description for it was "tapping the brakes."

And that's an excellent idea.

Really. Everybody just needs to chill for at least a week or so … at least one day or, for gosh's sakes, is an hour too much ask?

The FBS commissioners, athletic directors and school presidents all need to take a deep breath.

Sure, it seems like in some circles they're being mocked for being short on guarantees and answers and long on seemingly never-ending roadblocks.

Are they're more pressing issues in a pandemic? No doubt. But they work in college athletics and they're doing what they're paid to do.

They're no different than your favorite neighborhood restaurant owner trying to make ends meet with 50-percent capacity and take-out food while improving our quality of life.

Admire their effort. Wish them good luck. They still have some time to figure out what really will happen when the whole student body returns to campuses.

Let it play out. They might still have to call a few audibles.

On the other hand, I have no idea why the Southland Conference is stalling.

The league's presidents met long into Friday night, presumably trying to figure out what to do about the season. The result was … crickets. No announcement.

The word I get is that they'll meet again in the next few days.

What on earth could they still be talking about?

It's obvious for McNeese State and the SLC that what the vast majority of the other Football Championship Subdivision conferences have already figured out is the only real option.

It ain't happening in the fall. Play in the spring if you wish.

The FCS playoffs are already off the table with nine of its conferences already punting on the fall, far less than the 50 percent of the teams will be playing, which the NCAA has said is a prerequisite for playing a championship.

Yet the SLC is one of four holdouts — last I checked, anyway; things change rapidly — along with the Southern, Big South and Ohio Valley conferences.

Maybe it's some macho standoff, perhaps there's a cash prize for being the last conference standing.

It's not going to happen. The sooner they start dealing with the logistics of a spring season — and there will be obstacles to that, too — the better off they'll be.

Money as the root? Sure. The FCS simply cannot financially afford the intensive testing needed to even think about playing a season right now.

Testing might not even be the answer to getting through a season. These are uncharted waters. But leave it to the FBS to be the guinea pigs to figure that out.

If testing does work, at least the larger FBS conferences can play to greatly reduced crowds and still salvage some TV money.

The FCS depends far more on ticket sales than TV for its coffers. It makes no financial sense for them to play in empty or sparse stadiums. If the FBS does play in the fall, the FCS might even find more fannies in those seats. Here, for instance, there wouldn't be the excuse of staying home to watch LSU on TV instead of going to Cowboy Stadium.

Depending on how many FCS conferences end up in the spring, they might even find some spare TV money of their own floating around.

And if the rest of the Group of Five conferences follow the MAC, they might even cobble together some "money" games that have disappeared for the fall.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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