As three of the Power Five conferences set sail in an attempt to play college football this season, the reaction brings to mind another age, with the sizable flat-Earth society of that day gathering on European shores to watch the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria forge out into uncharted waters.

Fools! You'll never make it!

Not even if you wear a mask!

Oh, for sure, the doubters are all living up now, hee-hawing from coast to coast, having a grand old time mocking the effort.

Mainly it's the Big Ten and Pac-12, who figure to have some explaining to do if anybody pulls off fall football.

They threw in the towel early with the announcement that they're sitting it out this fall. Let others play the fool, seems to be the reasoning.

But the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12 plan to play some football, along with — at last count — four of the Group of Five leagues.

They have not promised anything for sure.

There are obstacles ahead.

But they're going to give it the old college try.

And good for them.

Could we at least give them credit for the effort?

Apparently not.

Let us stop right here and reiterate that McNeese State and the Southland Conference absolutely made the right move in calling off their fall league schedule, with an eye toward the spring.

Yeah, it's the usual suspect. Of course — the root of all evil in the old normal and this god-awful new normal — it's all about the money.

The Southland schools —most of them anyway, and surely our state's four members — just don't have the athletic budgets to wade through the logistics for the necessary testing to make it work even for an abbreviated season. It's not something you can cut corners on.

It's unfortunate, but it's the reality.

The SEC does have the money. At least it thinks it does. Same for the ACC and Big 12.

But do they have the means? Does anybody? Is it even possible? Who knows?

There are probably obstacles out there that they haven't even thought of yet.

But could we at least wish them good luck?

True, that may not be possible in a country that hasn't seen a glass half full in six full months.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 would rather sit in their ivory towers and mock the dumb-old South for its obsession with college football.

They stand meekly behind their medical advisers in throwing in the towel under the guise of an abundance of caution. The SEC, on the other hand, has licensed medical professionals who think it can be pulled off.

And if we've learned anything during this pandemic, it's that if you dig around enough, you can find the expert medical opinion that fits your narrative.

We'll see. They might well have to call off the whole thing before the season starts or shortly after.

But could we at least wish them good luck?

True, it may not be possible in a country that hasn't seen a glass half full in six full months.

What do you expect when the word "positive" has become the worst thing you can hear these days.

It's not just those like the Big Ten and Pac-12 with an I-told-you-so rooting interest is seeing it all fall apart.

We've become a nation of defeatist Negative Nellies, griping, moaning and whining and waiting on the next $1,200 check from the government.

So the SEC and its partners who dare to attempt fall football are caught as the targets in one of those Japanese Whack-A-Mole arcade games.

Every time some hint of encouraging news or some counter-point to the doomsday scenarios pops its head up, it's a quick BAM! ­­— whacked up side the head again by that mallet again.

The SEC and its mates are guilty of being hopeful, of shamelessly spreading optimism when it's no longer fashionable.

There were some discouraging "positives" when football players began returning to campus in June, but the news was getting better as the summer wore on.

They seemed to be getting a better handle on things and …

WHACK!

Yeah, but just wait until the knucklehead civilian student body gets back on campus.

When that happens ­— it's happening now, actually — most of social media's computer models seem to predict a nationwide swarm of 20-year-old locusts ransacking every campus in America until those ivy walls are a Zombie Apocalypse.

Maybe. The SEC may well have to deal with it. Guess what? So will the Big Ten and Pac-12, whose football players will still be on campus — and with less incentive to wear a mask and do the social distancing thing.

But can we at least wait and see how it plays out?

Maybe it's not the answer. If it can't be done, those conferences giving it go can shut it down at any time.

But this has to start somewhere.

Who knows? Maybe it leads us back to a decent happy hour and an occasional family outing at a restaurant.

If you want some encouragement, I'd tell you that when SEC athletic departments set their minds to do something, red-tape parts like the Red Sea, and it generally gets done.

But I'd probably get Whack-a-Moled.


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

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