Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
Linemen stand chance to catch virus
On the same day our man Tom Murphy was writing about the Arkansas Razorbacks offensive line, the first of a series on positions, it was reported that LSU has quarantined several of its offensive linemen because of covid-19.
That is not a surprise.
Of all the positions, the offensive and defensive lines would be the most likely to catch the virus.
On every down they are engaged in body-to-body contact, or at least they better be if they want to stay off the sideline.
Cases of the virus on football teams are to be expected.
They are everywhere.
It is impossible to social distance during a football game and millions of Americans continue to pretend the virus is a political volleyball.
Anything that kills more than 800,000 worldwide, and around 180,000 in the USA, is not a joke.
Regardless, it is not a surprise some offensive linemen got it, and their chances of recovering and playing the first game four weeks from Saturday are very good.
Speaking of offensive linemen, Murphy’s story on the offensive line was intriguing.
They have gained weight from as much as 45 pounds to 5, and according to head coach Sam Pittman, have not lost any of their mobility.
In fact, some are more mobile than before.
Interestingly, Noah Gatlin was the one who gained only 5 pounds, but he’s up to 307.
The grandson of Nelson Catalina, former Arkansas State head basketball coach, reported two years ago he was only about 270 pounds, and he was just 17 years old.
Gatlin had a knee injury last August and missed the season after surgery.
Apparently, he used the year to get bigger and stronger.
What was interesting about Murphy’s story was a couple of last year’s starters are fighting to win their position back.
Jerry Palm predicts things for CBSsports.com and he’s really good.
He does a great job with predicting the NCAA basketball tournament bracket, and now he’s released his bowl predictions for this season.
After eliminating bowls that had tie-ins to conferences that aren’t going to play this fall, he had 74 spots for 76 teams.
Arkansas and East Carolina were the only teams playing this fall he said would not play in a bowl because he was predicting they would got winless.
Obviously, no bowl would want a winless team unless perhaps it was perhaps a match-up of two winless teams.
The bowls eliminated are; Quick Lane Bowl (Big Ten vs MAC), Potato Bowl (MWC vs. MAC), Arizona Bowl (MWC vs. MAC) and the new Los Angeles Bowl (Pac-12 vs MWC).
The granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl, usually features the Big Ten and Pac-12, is a College Football Playoff semifinal this season, so it will remain the patriarch of college football bowls.
The NCAA is still playing it safe as far as making coronavirus decisions.
Now, the governing body of college athletics, which owns the rights to the basketball tournament, is hinting there may be no games in November and the season may not start until January.
There has been no indication that the Final Four, scheduled for April 3 and 5, in Indianapolis would be moved back.
Apparently, there are four options on the table, and one includes leaving everything as scheduled and two have games not starting until late November and one with action to start Dec. 4.
Obviously noting is final and an email was received yesterday that ticket applications for the Final Four closes August 31.
Best guess here is if football starts and finishes a season this fall, basketball will start on time.
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