FRANK FRANGIE: Will we still have football this fall?

FRANK FRANGIE: Will we still have football this fall?

By: Frank Frangie

This and that. …

I still think we’ll have football. But I’ll admit it’s a guess, probably a wild guess at this point.

The coronavirus surge came as a surprise, at least coming as soon as it did. By mid-spring, many predicted a second wave in the fall, not many expected it in July. But here we are.

If there is a positive, it is that all of us — present company included — are taking the masks more seriously. I was always respectful, but to be honest, probably not as militant as I should have been about wearing them. I am now. I think most folks are taking all of the mitigation elements more seriously.

There was a time people kind of looked at the ones wearing masks a little funny. Now, at least indoors, you get those looks if you DON’T have a mask on. That is progress, regardless of how it came about.

Back to football, starting with the college game. I’m surprised the Big 10 and Pac 12 acted as quickly as they did in announcing only conference games. Everything you hear is that the other three Power 5 leagues — the SEC, ACC and Big 12 — were surprised by it as well. But I’m not surprised it landed there.

In the end, I think all the conferences will have a similar plan. Perhaps not identical, but similar. I doubt you will see any team playing guarantee games, where the overmatched school from a different division comes in, loses big, gets a big paycheck, and flies home. We surely have to believe that those games, this year, aren’t happening.

I still believe the key SEC-ACC rivalry matchups will happen. I expect, assuming there is college football at all, that Florida-FSU, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Clemson-South Carolina, Kentucky-Louisville will be played. Again, to be clear, all of this is a guess. I could land squarely on Freezing Cold Takes with this. But that is what I think.

What makes the most sense to me is the ACC and SEC playing 9-game schedules — 8 conference games and 1 non-conference game. The Big 10, the Pac 12 and the Big 12 playing 9-game conference schedules, which they do any way.

That way, all Power 5 teams play the same amount of games — 9. And all the teams shave off 3 games. They save the expense of games with few or no fans — remember, those are mostly home games — and there is less health risk with less play. And the teams can then start later — possibly the third week of September — which gives them more time to sort of chart the direction of the virus.

In that plan, all five conferences play the amount of conference games they normally would play. And the ACC-SEC rivalries are maintained.

The challenge for this becomes Notre Dame. The ACC wants to help ensure the Irish have a working schedule, so you would assume the six games Notre Dame plays against ACC teams would stay. But three of those opponents — Clemson, Georgia Tech and Louisville — also are involved in SEC-ACC rivalry games.

If you’re Clemson, for instance, what would you prefer? Getting that trip to Notre Dame, as historic a place as there is in college football and a chance to enhance your playoff resume? Or maintaining the state rivalry game with South Carolina, which is important to so many in the Palmetto state? Tough call. Keeping both could be tough.

So much has yet to be decided. What I do believe is that by August 1 we’ll know everything there is to know, if not before. So the wait is almost over. …

There still is not much indication that the NFL doesn’t plan to play all of its games. I think the fact that various teams, the Jaguars among them, have announced their reduced capacities for home games, indicates they expect to play. And possibly with some fans right out of the gate.

For now, the plan is that all NFL teams will play its scheduled middle two pre-season games. Gone are the games scheduled for weeks 1 and 4 of the preseason. But the players union is pushing for the dumping of all the pre-season games. My guess is we still will have the two, but again, just a guess. …

Our Walkoff Charities Back-to-Baseball Tournament at Sans Souci Baseball Park was an overwhelming success. We had teams in four age groups — 8-and-under, 10-and-under, 12-and-under and high school age. All seemed to have a blast.

A team comprised of players from all around called the Bomb Squad won the high school division, Christ the King won the 12-and-under division. Both of those were decided on Saturday. Then on Sunday, the Ponte Vedra Sharks won the 8-and-under division and the Fort Caroline Venom won 10-and-under.

Congrats to all the champs. And thanks to all the teams who were kind enough to join us. We had teams from Yulee, Baldwin, St. Augustine, Fleming Island, Ponte Vedra, Jacksonville Beach and tons of teams from Jacksonville. In all, 26 teams from four counties — Duval, Clay, St. John’s, Nassau.

The event allowed more than 300 local baseball players — who lost so much of their respective seasons, if not all of them — to play together one last time. And, in conjunction with so many kind donations during the week, raised some money for Walkoff, which gives youth in underserved areas an opportunity to play baseball. Just a great week all the way around. …

A few other thoughts from the tournament: There were so many good players from the high school division that if I tried to mention them all, I would be forgetting tons. The most heralded is Jackson Baumeister, a senior to be at Bolles who is headed to Florida State and is so good he could wind up catching AND pitching for the Seminoles. You rarely see that. Enjoyed watching him. He is as good as advertised.

But the guy you have to go out and watch next year is Baumeister’s Bolles teammate, Jackson Mayo. He is an outfielder who might be a legitimate 5-tool guy. He hit three home runs in the two games he played in our tournament, one of which was one of the longest anyone has seen at that field. A left-handed hitter with speed and power and is somehow still uncommitted. But I’m guessing not for long. …

Finally, lots of folks to thank for their commitment to this tournament. The outstanding staff at Airstream Ventures, our event partner, headed up by Kenedy Talley, who worked like you can’t imagine. Tom Bauman, Sandalwood coach Tim Moses, Billy and Michelle King — particularly Michelle, who ran the concessions without relief. Also my friend and JUA umpire Fran Delaney who was our conduit to the terrific umpiring crews we had out.

But nobody deserves more thanks than Ponte Vedra coach Tom Stanton and Bishop Snyder coach and AD Zach Osbeck. They head our baseball committee at Walkoff and are two of the hardest working, best baseball guys I’ve ever known. And they are even better people. Tip of the cap to them both, as well as so many others I probably am forgetting. I am so very indebted. …

The Eagles concert on ESPN last Sunday, filmed in 2018 at the Forum in Los Angeles, is now my second favorite all-time concert on TV. It would be tough to top Springsteen from Madison Square Garden, which was once a two-DVD masterpiece. Do they still have DVDs?

But this Eagles show was magnificent. After the tragic death of Glenn Frey, one of my favorite vocalists of all time, the band brought in legendary country artist Vince Gill and Frey’s son, Deacon, to split up the songs Frey used to sing. Honestly, I was such a big Glenn Frey fan I was reluctant to give them a chance. Well, shame on me.

It was amazing. Gill was very good and Deacon made his father proud. Deacon sang Take it Easy and Peaceful Easy Feeling, father Glenn’s two anthems, and he absolutely crushed them. The rest of the band was typically terrific. What an awesome three hours. …

Can you believe the Jags will be in camp in two weeks? Minshew, who has had a great offseason, to Chark. And Westbrook. And Shenault. And Eifert. Josh Allen with a year under his belt. Fournette in great shape and in a contract year. C.J. Henderson who is explosively fast and totally healthy, which he wasn’t last year at Florida.

Myles Jack at his more natural position. Big, physical noseguards in Al Woods and DaVon Hamilton.

Yeah, I know, all the experts think they won’t be any good. That’s fine. I’m gonna choose to be jacked up for training camp and expect the best. That is my right. Man I can’t wait. …

I hope Yannick Ngakoue signs his tender. I know there was bad blood, but he would make close to $18 million, be the highest paid player on the team, could really set himself up for a huge payday with a big year. Really hope we get to see 91. …

Major League Baseball starts in 11 days. I have no idea what to expect, but I am freaking excited. On Friday night the 24th, after there are two games the day before to kick it off, my Pirates are on the road at St. Louis. First pitch at 8:15. I’m loading up the IC Lights. Let’s go. …

Have you seen the E:60 on The Hero of Goodall Park. One of the most eerie sports-related documentaries I’ve ever seen. You should watch it. …

The wife and I are back to watching old reruns of CSI Miami. I freaking loved CSI Miami. Watched them all, but it’s been so long, I don’t remember the storylines. I generally have a really good memory, but not for this. Which means it’s like watching them new.

So that’s us — watching an unbelievably corny detective show set in a high brow area of Miami which probably doesn’t really exist, with all the detectives wearing linen and pastels and talking trash to all the bad guys.

Yep, I need sports. …

Cheers.