Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been no football this fall. Yet, hopes for a spring 2021 season have been buoyed following the CAA release of the proposed schedule.
On Sept. 30, the Colonial Athletic Association released a proposed schedule for a spring 2021 football season. Under the CAA proposal, each team would play a six-game conference schedule with the option to add two non-conferences opponents. There will be two divisions — North and South — and all six conference games will be played within these divisions, according to the proposal. For postseason play, the team with the best conference win percentage will receive an automatic bid to represent the CAA in the NCAA Football Championship, according to the proposal.
The NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs have been approved to start on April 24; they will include 16 teams.
The final CAA conference schedule and divisions are set to be released in the coming weeks. No dates have been finalized but there is anticipation that conference play will start on March 6 and end April 17.
“Each member institution, as well as the Conference office, has additional protocols that must be finalized and approved in order to ensure a safe return to the field,” Joe D’Antonio, the CAA commissioner, said.
University of Richmond head football coach Russ Huesman is fully committed to a spring season and is not letting the unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic change any season’s outlook.
“We are in the mindset that we will play the six conference games,” Huesman said. “Hopefully we can win a championship, go to the playoffs and move forward there.”
For the Spiders, who finished 5-7 last season, a spring season would prove to be valuable. This would provide a fluid transition to apply and implement the new players, who would otherwise be a year behind in-game experience, into the team’s systems.
Senior and team captain Tyler Dressler also gave his thoughts on the schedule and how the team is handling the current climate.
“We are all just really happy to be playing football again really,” Dressler said. “We are just trying to emphasize where we have been in the past and to use those and this experience as motivation to propel us forward.”
Preparation-wise, this season certainly is different from past years.
“We are actually practicing what we would normally do in the spring right now,” Huesman said. “It’s way different and it’s a huge adjustment.”
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Several other collegiate conferences around the country started their football seasons this fall. These conferences have been able to complete the majority of their scheduled games with safe COVID-19 protocols so far, which provides optimism that the CAA could as well. Yet, a football season is not guaranteed. Anything could change in a matter of days.
“The bottom line is, our guys are excited to be out there and have the ability to play football and do something normal,” Huesman said.
Contact sports writer Henry Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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