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2020 NCAA Division I FBS football season

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Template:Infobox NCAA Division I FBS season The 2020 NCAA Division I FBS football season will be a season of college football games in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at its highest level of competition, the Football Bowl Subdivison. Pending developments in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the regular season is tentatively scheduled to begin on August 29, 2020, and end on December 12, 2020. The postseason is planned to conclude on January 11, 2021, with the College Football Playoff National Championship at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. This will be the seventh season of the College Football Playoff championship system.

Conference realignment[edit source | edit]

Membership changes[edit source | edit]

School Former conference New conference
UConn Huskies The American Independent

Rule changes[edit source | edit]

The following playing rule changes were approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel for 2020:[1]

  • Players ejected for targeting will now be permitted to remain in the bench area. Previously, players ejected for targeting had to return to the locker room.
  • Restricting the number of players on a team wearing the same uniform number to two; such players still cannot be on the field at the same time and must play different positions.
  • Including the number "0" as a legal uniform number.
  • Extending the official's jurisdiction prior to kickoff from 60 to 90 minutes, requiring a coach from each team be on the field during warm-ups, and identifying each player by number.
  • Adopting as a guideline a maximum of 2 minutes for instant replay reviews. Exceptions will be allowed in "exceptionally complicated" or end-of-game situations.
  • If the game clock expires at the end of a half, replay determines that time was remaining, and the game situation calls for the clock to start on the referee's signal, the half ends unless the replay determines that the clock should have stopped with 3 or more seconds left.

Other headlines[edit source | edit]

  • February 18 – The NCAA announced that it was considering a proposal that would allow student-athletes in all sports a one-time waiver to transfer to a new school without having to sit out a season. This would place all NCAA sports under the same transfer rules; currently, first-time transfers are only required to sit out a season in baseball, men's and women's basketball, football, and men's ice hockey. The existing criteria for the waiver would be extended to these five sports—namely, a player must receive a transfer release from his or her previous school, leave that school academically eligible, maintain academic progress at the new school, and not be under any disciplinary suspension.[2]
  • February 20 – Pitt's football program has been placed on three years' probation as part of a series of violations announced by the Division I Committee on Infractions on Thursday, which also included violations from their men's basketball team and former head coach Kevin Stallings. The football infractions stem from when coach Pat Narduzzi was found to have been present at a football practice when three former quality control staff members performed coaching duties, which also exceeded the number of permissible coaches. The violation went undetected in part because the football program used a system to play music when outside parties were present at practice, triggering the quality control staffers to stay clear of the student-athletes. Coach Narduzzi was handed a show-cause order that will withhold him from two days of team practice in August. Along with the probation and Stallings' punishment, Pitt received a $5,000 fine from the men's basketball and football budgets and a three-year show-cause order for the former director of basketball operations. The men's basketball program will also have a reduction in the number of countable coaches by one at a regular practice for 16 hours during the 2019–20 academic year, while the football program will have a reduction of one countable coach for four days of practice, and two quality control staff members must be removed from practice for three days.[3]
  • February 26 – The new LA Bowl was announced on February 26, matching the Mountain West's No. 1 team against the Pac-12's No. 5. Beginning in December, the game will be held at SoFi Stadium, the new 70,240-seat home of the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams in Inglewood, California. The LA Bowl is locked in at SoFi from 2020 to 2025.[4]

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic[edit source | edit]

Multiple universities and conferences had already cancelled their spring football games as part of the wider, nationwide suspension of organized sports and athletics due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 13, the NCAA announced a suspension of all Division I on-campus and off-campus recruiting until April 15.[5] In regards to its impact on the regular season, NCAA president Mark Emmert stated on May 8 that individual decisions on fall semester sports would likely begin to appear as early as June or around July 4. He suggested that the operation of athletics programs would depend on students being present on-campus to a degree (but not necessarily "up and running in the full normal model"), explaining that "you have to treat the health and well-being of the athletes at least as much as the regular students", but that "this is going to be a very unusual school year, and we just have to make the best of it".[6]

In the event that conditions do not improve by the traditional timeframe of the season, the possibility of delaying the football season entirely to spring 2021 was suggested by several coaches. However, it was largely considered by them to be a last resort. American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco commented that such a delay would likely require practices to be held over the winter indoors — environments that have been shown to exacerbate spread of COVID-19.[7]

The NCAA Division I Council banned on-campus activities through May 31; on May 20, the Council voted to end the moratorium and allow voluntary on-campus activity in football and basketball to begin June 1, subject to new safety protocols.[8] On June 2, the Emerald Isle Classic between Notre Dame and Navy in Dublin, Ireland was cancelled due to the pandemic, and the game itself was rescheduled at Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.[9] On June 17, the Division I Council approved a timetable for a season assumed to begin September 5, including beginning non-voluntary training activities on July 13.[10]

On July 9, the Big Ten announced that while it will go on with fall sports such as football, all games will be played against in-conference opponents only.[11] The Pac-12 followed suit the next day, while it was reported that the remaining three Power Five conferences — the ACC, Big 12, and SEC — were considering similar options. The decisions led to the cancellations of three marquee games involving Notre Dame, including a game against Wisconsin that was to be played at Lambeau Field, and traditional rivalry games against Stanford (not held for the first time since 1996) and USC (postponed for the first time since 1945 due to World War II). The first four games of two teams, the BYU Cougars (Independent) and the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (MW) were all scratched due to these restrictions, with the Rainbow Warriors also impacted by the FCS Patriot League's decision to cancel the 2020 season for all fall sports (resulting in the cancellation of a game against the Fordham Rams).[7][12][13]

On June 24, USA Today reported that at least 37 FBS schools had reported positive cases of COVID-19 among student-athletes or staff since practices resumed. Amidst a spike in cases in the Southern U.S. since late-June, several state governors, including Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Georgia's Brian Kemp, and South Carolina's Henry McMaster, have warned that football season could be threatened if cases do not subside in time.[14][15]

On July 15, the Rose Parade was cancelled due to the pandemic. The game itself is still tentatively scheduled.[16] On the same day, the NCAA announced that FBS teams would be permitted to count two wins against FCS teams, instead of the usual one, towards bowl eligibility.[17] On July 16, the NCAA released a series of recommendations regarding protocols for fall sports, including that all participants in "high contact risk sports" be tested with results within 72 hours of play. President Emmert noted, however, that the guidelines presumed that the infection rate would be "manageable", and that "If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic." [18] The American Athletic Conference announced the same day that it will adhere to this protocol; Commissioner Aresco stated that "with the proper quarantine and the proper canvassing of close contacts, we think at this point it would be safe to play games."[19]

On July 18, the SEC announced that it would still honor scholarships for players who opt out of the fall season due to safety concerns.[20]

Stadiums[edit source | edit]

Upcoming[edit source | edit]

Kickoff games[edit source | edit]

"Week Zero"[edit source | edit]

The regular season is scheduled to begin on August 29 with three "Week 0" games:[25]

Additionally, the Emerald Isle Classic at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland was scheduled to occur during Week 0, featuring Navy versus Notre Dame.[27] However, on June 2, 2020, the game was moved from Dublin to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, most likely on Labor Day weekend, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[28] The game will be the first in the history of the Navy–Notre Dame football rivalry to be played at Navy's home stadium.

Week 1[edit source | edit]

The majority of FBS teams are scheduled to open the season on Labor Day weekend. Three neutral-site "kickoff" games will be held.

Week 2[edit source | edit]

Conference standings[edit source | edit]

Template:2020 American Athletic Conference football standings Template:2020 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings Template:2020 Big 12 Conference football standings
Template:2020 Big Ten Conference football standings Template:2020 Conference USA football standings Template:2020 Mid-American Conference football standings
Template:2020 Mountain West Conference football standings Template:2020 Pac-12 Conference football standings Template:2020 Southeastern Conference football standings
Template:2020 Sun Belt Conference football standings Template:2020 NCAA Division I FBS independents football records

Rankings[edit source | edit]

Postseason[edit source | edit]

Due to a sponsorship change, what had been the Camping World Bowl played in Florida was renamed the Cheez-It Bowl, and the former Cheez-It Bowl played in Arizona reverted its name to Cactus Bowl. Also due to a sponsorship change, what had been the Belk Bowl was renamed as the Duke's Mayo Bowl. Three new bowls are planned to be played for the first time: Myrtle Beach Bowl (Conway, South Carolina), Fenway Bowl (Boston, Massachusetts), and LA Bowl (Inglewood, California).

Coaching changes[edit source | edit]

Preseason and in-season[edit source | edit]

This is restricted to coaching changes taking place on or after May 1, 2020, and will also include any changes announced after a team's last regularly scheduled game but before its bowl game. For coaching changes that occurred earlier in 2020, see 2019 NCAA Division I FBS end-of-season coaching changes.

School Outgoing coach Date Reason Replacement

End of season[edit source | edit]

This list includes coaching changes announced during the season that did not take effect until the end of the season.

School Outgoing coach Date Reason Replacement

Television viewers and ratings[edit source | edit]

Most-watched regular season games[edit source | edit]

Conference championship games[edit source | edit]

See also[edit source | edit]

Notes[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

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