Rose Bowl: No fans allowed at College Football Playoff semifinal game

No spectators will be allowed at the Rose Bowl for the College Football Playoff semifinal on Jan. 1 because of COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the state, county and city of Pasadena.

The Tournament of Roses said Thursday that it requested special permission to allow for a limited number of spectators or a select number of guests of players and coaches at the 90,888-seat stadium but was denied.

Los Angeles County is under a stay-home order that took effect this week and runs through mid-December. Pasadena has its own public health department and can set its own rules, but has mostly followed the county’s lead during the coronavirus pandemic.

“While we are disappointed that the Rose Bowl Game will not be played in front of spectators, we are pleased that we are still able to hold the game this year, continuing the 100-year plus tradition of The Granddaddy of Them All,” said David Eads, executive director and CEO of the Tournament of Roses. “We continue to work closely with health department officials and the Rose Bowl Stadium to provide the safest possible environment for our game participants.”

The Rose Bowl is hosting one of the playoff semifinals; the other is at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. The CFP selection committee will set the pairings for the semifinals on Dec. 20. The national championship game is set for Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

The Fiesta Bowl also announced Thursday that no fans would be allowed at the Jan. 2 game in Glendale, Ariz., though the immediate families of players will be able to attend.

The first Rose Bowl was played on Jan. 1, 1902, beginning the tradition of postseason college football games. In 1942, the game was moved to North Carolina because of fears of an attack by Japan on the U.S. West Coast after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Rose Parade, traditionally held the morning of the game, is off, too. It had previously been canceled only during World War II.

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Tobacco Road’s great old gyms are just empty buildings without college basketball fans

Duke was supposed to go to the Bahamas this year, back when traveling to an island resort for a basketball tournament was the simplest thing in the world. The closest the Blue Devils or anyone else will get is the atmosphere in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Tuesday, when Duke hosted Michigan State in an arena empty of fans.

Without the students screaming and boosters murmuring, the squeaking of sneakers was loud as a gunshot. Voices carried. Even the lighting looked different. Duke installed new LED lighting over the summer and without the teeming mass of human bodies to reflect and refract it, It had a bit of the blue glow of the ballroom at Atlantis, where Duke was supposed to have played.

In Cameron and in Reynolds Coliseum and in the Smith Center and in every arena across the ACC and across college basketball, the first week of the season has served as a cogent reminder that college basketball without fans is something else entirely.

They are missed.

Professional sports can exist in a bubble. College basketball as we know it can only thrive and flourish in symbiosis with the fans who crowd its sidelines and baselines. They are as much a part of the game as the players. A game played without them is a different game — still compelling, still with all the skill and drama, but with a vacant space where its soul should be.

Every sport has had to make these accommodations, but the NBA and NHL and especially the NFL can get along just fine in an empty stadium or arena. They are, at heart, productions made for television, and fans are merely an accoutrement, same as the pumped-in music during an offensive possession in the NBA.

Which is … fine. The world of professional sports is an entertainment business. The show must go on. And it does. NBA games in the Orlando bubble had more in common with professional wrestling or a Broadway musical than a college basketball game. College football long ago crossed that divide as well.

College basketball has not, and like European and South American soccer, an essential component of its spirit is that it be played in front of frenzied crowds, preferably in steamy (or, once, smoky) buildings, at the highest of temperatures both physically and emotionally.

We refer to the great buildings as cathedrals and temples and shrines for a reason, and not merely out of hyperbole. With their vaulted ceilings and dark corners, they serve as venues for the collective embracement of a higher ideal, the ethos expressed in the plaque at the entrance to the Palestra, the St. Peter’s of college basketball: To win the game is great. To play the game is greater. But to love the game is the greatest of all.

The Triangle’s great old gyms, Cameron and Reynolds and McDougald-McLendon, are sewn from the same spiritual cloth, built in the same architectural style — Naismith high Gothic — and play the same cherished

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What is more important to Ohio State fans: The Game or the College Football Playoff?

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State football fans cannot imagine a season that does not end with The Game against Michigan.

They also don’t want to consider the consequences of a season without a trip to the College Football Playoff.

The coronavirus pandemic remains a threat to both. The Buckeyes’ own COVID-19 outbreak appears to be under control enough for Ohio State to return to the field on Saturday. But Michigan is on pause due to its own increase in cases, and much remains uncertain about the closing weeks of the season.

Could the Big Ten change its minimum games requirement for playing in the league championship game? Would it consider altering its schedule next week to ensure Ohio State another game if the Wolverines need to cancel? What about reconsidering the amount of times players who tested positive must remain out of competition?

We delved into all of those questions and more in our big Thursday edition of Buckeye Talk. And we surveyed our text subscribers to learn:

• What means more, The Game or the playoff?

• What does it mean for a season if Ohio State and Michigan cannot play?

• Should the Big Ten have protected The Game by scheduling it earlier in the season?

If you’ve never listened to Buckeye Talk, try it now. And subscribe to Buckeye Talk on any of these podcast platforms or wherever you listen to podcasts.

• Buckeye Talk on iTunes

• Buckeye Talk on Spotify

• Buckeye Talk on Google Play

New Ohio State face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Ohio State-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection. A 3-pack is available on Fanatics for $29.99.

Ohio State Buckeyes Adult Face Covering

Fanatics has released Ohio State Buckeyes Adult Face Coverings. This 3-pack of adult masks, retails for $29.99.


Buy Buckeyes gear: Fanatics, Nike, Amazon, Lids


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A Rick Pitino lovefest, Jared Rhoden’s career night, missing the fans, more

Seton Hall on Monday earned its first win of the 2020-21 season with an 86-64 blowout of Iona in Rick Pitino’s debut coaching the Gaels.

From Pitino’s reunion with his former protege Kevin Willard to Jared Rhoden’s career night to Willard revealing he dealt with COVID to playing the first home game without fans, there was a lot going on.

Here are five observations on the night.

A lovefest with Pitino, and a return game

Willard learned the game from his father, former coach Ralph Willard, and from Pitino, serving under him both with the Boston Celtics and at Louisville before becoming a head coach himself.

This contest marked yet another reunion, but it was Pitino’s first game coaching Iona after he was fired at Louisville in 2017.

The two men met wearing masks on the side of the court before the game and then shared a tender private moment afterward.

“I told him, ‘I love you, I’m so glad to see you back,’ and he said he loved me, too,” Willard said on a postgame Zoom. “It’s a weird emotion seeing someone that you worked with for so long and you have so much — you’ve been through a lot of things in your life personally with and professionally — I know with the inside knowledge of what he’s gone through the last three or four years, it’s a joy. When I saw him on the sideline, I said, ‘that’s where Rick Pitino belongs,’ and I think he landed at a phenomenal spot. It’s a tremendous college, and I think the two of them combined, I’m not going to be playing them in three or four years, I’ll tell you that much.”

They will play again next season in a return game at either Madison Square Garden or the Islanders’ new arena, as first reported Sunday by NJ Advance Media.

“To play Seton Hall this early in the year is a great gift from Kevin, which I really, really appreciate,” Pitino, 68, told reporters. “I love him so much. I’m happy that he gave us the opportunity to play. We’re going to learn so much from this game.”

While Pitino will get a return game, he won’t be getting a Rolex from Willard. The Iona coach Tweeted before the game that he was expecting a new watch after presenting Willard with one when the then-Iona coach played at Louisville.

“I’ve seen all the watches he has,” Willard said in his post-game radio interview. “That man does not need a new watch.”

Instead, Willard said, he would be sending Pitino a case of on his favorite “expensive cabernet.”

Rhoden responds to the challenge, has career night

If Seton Hall is going to accomplish what it wants to this season, they need junior Jared Rhoden to have a big year.

After Rhoden went 3-for-12 for 11 points with six rebounds in the season-opening loss to Louisville, Willard challenged the young man from Baldwin, N.Y.

“I yelled at Jared [Sunday],” Willard said

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5 observations from Seton Hall’s first win of the season: A Pitino lovefest, Rhoden’s career night, missing the fans, more

Seton Hall on Monday earned its first win of the 2020-21 season with an 86-64 blowout of Iona in Rick Pitino’s debut coaching the Gaels.

From Pitino’s reunion with his former protege Kevin Willard to Jared Rhoden’s career night to Willard revealing he dealt with COVID to playing the first home game without fans, there was a lot going on.

Here are five observations on the night.

A lovefest with Pitino, and a return game

Willard learned the game from his father, former coach Ralph Willard, and from Pitino, serving under him both with the Boston Celtics and at Louisville before becoming a head coach himself.

This contest marked yet another reunion, but it was Pitino’s first game coaching Iona after he was fired at Louisville in 2017.

The two men met wearing masks on the side of the court before the game and then shared a tender private moment afterward.

“I told him, ‘I love you, I’m so glad to see you back,’ and he said he loved me, too,” Willard said on a postgame Zoom. “It’s a weird emotion seeing someone that you worked with for so long and you have so much — you’ve been through a lot of things in your life personally with and professionally — I know with the inside knowledge of what he’s gone through the last three or four years, it’s a joy. When I saw him on the sideline, I said, ‘that’s where Rick Pitino belongs,’ and I think he landed at a phenomenal spot. It’s a tremendous college, and I think the two of them combined, I’m not going to be playing them in three or four years, I’ll tell you that much.”

They will play again next season in a return game at either Madison Square Garden or the Islanders’ new arena, as first reported Sunday by NJ Advance Media.

“To play Seton Hall this early in the year is a great gift from Kevin, which I really, really appreciate,” Pitino, 68, told reporters. “I love him so much. I’m happy that he gave us the opportunity to play. We’re going to learn so much from this game.”

While Pitino will get a return game, he won’t be getting a Rolex from Willard. The Iona coach Tweeted before the game that he was expecting a new watch after presenting Willard with one when the then-Iona coach played at Louisville.

“I’ve seen all the watches he has,” Willard said in his post-game radio interview. “That man does not need a new watch.”

Instead, Willard said, he would be sending Pitino a case of on his favorite “expensive cabernet.”

Rhoden responds to the challenge, has career night

If Seton Hall is going to accomplish what it wants to this season, they need junior Jared Rhoden to have a big year.

After Rhoden went 3-for-12 for 11 points with six rebounds in the season-opening loss to Louisville, Willard challenged the young man from Baldwin, N.Y.

“I yelled at Jared [Sunday],” Willard said

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Boisterous fans flock to the stadium of Argentinos Juniors, where Maradona’s career began

The Wrap

Joss Whedon Exits HBO Drama ‘The Nevers’

Joss Whedon is departing the HBO drama “The Nevers,” where he was set to write, direct and serve as showrunner.“We have parted ways with Joss Whedon. We remain excited about the future of ‘The Nevers’ and look forward to its premiere in the summer of 2021,” HBO said in a statement.“The Nevers” is an epic science-fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities and relentless enemies, and are on a mission that might change the world. The series is still expected to premiere next summer.Also Read: HBO Max Wades Into the ‘Is ‘Die Hard’ a Christmas Movie?’ Debate“The Nevers” was picked up straight-to-series in 2018 and was set to be Whedon’s first TV project since “Dollhouse,” which ran on Fox from 2009-2010.“This year of unprecedented challenges has impacted my life and perspective in ways I could never have imagined, and while developing and producing ‘The Nevers’ has been a joyful experience, I realize that the level of commitment required moving forward, combined with the physical challenges of making such a huge show during a global pandemic, is more than I can handle without the work beginning to suffer,” Whedon said in a statement. “I am genuinely exhausted, and am stepping back to martial my energy towards my own life, which is also at the brink of exciting change. I am deeply proud of the work we have done; I’m grateful to all my extraordinary cast and collaborators, and to HBO for the opportunity to shape yet another strange world. ‘The Nevers’ is a true labor of love, but after two-plus years of labor, love is about all I have to offer. It will never fade.”Casting for “The Nevers” was completed months ago. The ambitious drama features an expansive cast that is led by Laura Donnelly and includes Olivia Williams (“Counterpart”), James Norton (“McMafia”), Tom Riley (“Dark Heart”), Ann Skelly (“Death and Nightingales”), Ben Chaplin (“The Thin Red Line”), Pip Torrens (“The Crown”), Zackary Momoh (“Seven Seconds”), Amy Manson (“Torchwood”), Nick Frost (“Fighting With My Family”), Rochelle Neil (“Terminator: Dark Fate”), Eleanor Tomlinson (“Poldark”), Denis O’Hare (“Big Little Lies,” “Late Night”), Sonia Sawar (“Black Mirror”), Elizabeth Berrington (“Waterloo Road”), Ella Smith (“Babylon”), Viola Prettejohn (“Counterpart”), Anna Devlin (“Hanna”) and Martyn Ford (“Kingsman: The Golden Circle”).The news regarding Whedon leaving “The Nevers” was first reported by Cinemablend.Read original story Joss Whedon Exits HBO Drama ‘The Nevers’ At TheWrap

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University of Hawaii offensive lineman gives fans a behind-the-scenes view of the football program

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Raiders stadium will have fans, but for college game not NFL

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Raiders were fittingly the first team to play inside Allegiant Stadium, their sparkling new home near the famed Las Vegas Strip.

But the first fans allowed inside the $2 billion venue will be there to cheer on the UNLV Rebels, not the Silver and Black.

UNLV is scheduled to host in-state rival Nevada on Saturday in the annual battle for the Fremont Cannon, college football’s largest rivalry trophy. It will be the first game played with a crowd at the stadium because the Raiders have decided to play their inaugural season in Las Vegas before empty seats amid the pandemic.

“They’re our roommates there at the stadium,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said. “If they want to have fans there that’s their prerogative. Whether they feel it’s safe and everything else, that’s their decision-making process.”

The university’s plan to allow a limited number of spectators was recently approved by the Southern Nevada Health District and Nevada’s department of Business & Industry. UNLV can use 3% of the domed stadium’s 65,000-seat capacity, which means there will be about 2,000 spectators allowed.

Fans attending the game must be screened upon entering and will be required to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing. The approval is strictly for UNLV’s first two home games at Allegiant Stadium. The school said plans must be resubmitted for any games after that.

Davis said one positive he takes from UNLV allowing fans in the building is that it will give stadium operations an opportunity to get workers acquainted with the building.

“It’s kind of like a trial run and I think that’ll be a positive in the long run,” said Davis, who hasn’t attended any of the Raiders’ three home games.

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With no Pac-12 games in prime time, college football fans are left in a dark place

For a month now, as college football has attempted to bring back some normal fall vibes in the middle of a seemingly never-ending pandemic, plenty has been missing from the experience.



a crowd of people watching a football ball: Colorado players run on to the field at Levi's Stadium before the Pac-12 championship game against Washington in 2016. Having no late Pac-12 games on Saturday has left college fans feeling a bit empty. (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)


© (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)
Colorado players run on to the field at Levi’s Stadium before the Pac-12 championship game against Washington in 2016. Having no late Pac-12 games on Saturday has left college fans feeling a bit empty. (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

Packed stadiums. Marching bands. Cheerleaders. Tailgates. Lee Corso making his picks live from a campus cresting with anticipation before kickoff. So many things we’ve come to count on as ritual gone, some more replaceable than others.

Around the 2014 season, a wacky West Coast phenomenon took the nation by hold and has since grabbed a place among the sport’s most beloved traditions — and its absence in 2020 has created a gulf in our hearts that simply can’t be filled.

This season, when the prime-time games have completed at around 8 p.m. Pacific and 11 p.m. Eastern, fans across the country have reached for their remotes, thumbed through the guide and found nothing but pure sadness.

Because no “Pac-12 After Dark” means no more college football for another week.

“Night’s over, go to bed,” Anthony Moeglin, a 23-year-old self-described college football junkie in Ohio, said of this new reality.

“Thoroughly depressing,” said Carson Cunningham, a TV sports anchor based in Oklahoma City. “It’s breaking up my routine. I hate it.”

Last Saturday, Cunningham was among the weekly deluge of fans who went to Twitter after the early end of the festivities to air their feelings. “I just scrolled through the channels looking for #Pac12AfterDark…” he said, posting a GIF of actor Steve Carell as Michael Scott from “The Office” nodding slowly and holding back tears.

For Cunningham and others who either work late on Saturdays or are night-owl types, the Pac-12’s decision to postpone its season has been a big blow. All they can do is reminisce about the good old days until Nov. 7, when the league will release more After Dark offerings into what is sure to be another wondrous night.

“It’s amazing for us,” Cunningham said. “It’s midnight, and we’re in the middle of a Pac-12 football game, and we have something to watch while we wind down. It’s become a rite of passage, and typically it’s always a wild game. It’s become its own moniker for a reason.”

Queuing up Netflix or Hulu this fall hasn’t cut it for Cunningham’s ilk.

“For someone like me, who’s busy all day either working or doing stuff with my family, that was always the relaxation game,” said Rob Cassidy, who is based in Miami and covers college recruiting for Rivals. “Everything is quiet. Everyone is in bed. And I can sit down and watch Washington State throw the ball 50 times or whatever’s

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State College braces for the return of big-time college football at Penn State, no fans requested

Pennsylvania’s third big-time football franchise — the Penn State Nittany Lions — springs back to life in the biggest way possible Saturday night, with a prime-time game against Top 10 arch-rival Ohio State University.

It’s the home opener AND biggest game on the home schedule this year.

In normal times, it would have brought somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 people on a pilgrimage to this cultural mecca, ready to party and unleash their inner warrior alter egos at Beaver Stadium, outside at tailgates, or in taprooms and house parties across the town. And, if all went according to plan, drop some considerable disposable income here in the process.

Of course, these aren’t normal times.

This year, in the middle of the latest surge of the global coronavirus pandemic, there are active efforts to keep the fans away:

  • The university, in accordance with Big Ten Conference rules for football in the midst of a pandemic, has ruled out selling tickets to Beaver Stadium for this or any of the 2020 home games. (Admission is being granted to families of players and coaches.)
  • All nearby parking areas will be closed in an effort to prevent tailgating.
  • State College police say they plan to strictly enforce local ordinances limiting indoor social gatherings to 10 people, and outdoor functions to 25, and borough officials are also keeping their two-hour time limit on downtown parking in place through the weekend.
  • Bars and restaurants are still dealing with the Wolf Administration’s pandemic emergency rules limiting capacity to 50 percent and, and stopping all alcohol sales at 11 p.m. – putting a damper on post-game revelry for this prime-timer.

For State College, it actually feels like the latest reprise of the self-imposed economic lockdowns that swept the nation last spring, during the first attempts to limit the spread of coronavirus and keep medical facilities from being overwhelmed.

For all of that, many are still wondering — or depending on your perspective, worrying — if the first home game of this on-again, off-again season still might be an irresistible, semi-outdoor, draw for many PSU alumni and friends in need of a jolt of pandemic excitement in their lives.

“We’re in uncharted territory at this point,” said State College Borough Manager Tom Fountaine. “We’re concerned about a late game. I think it’s compounded by Halloween being the same day. And it’s, in this case, a full moon also and a blue moon. So it’s a convergence of things that I think cause us a lot of concern.”

Penn State’s messaging has been unequivocal, if a little heartbreaking for fans and the hospitality business here that exists to support them: Root for the Lions, but do it from a safe distance.

Here’s a part of Penn State President Eric Barron’s appeal before last week’s season opener, an away game against Indiana:

“It is especially important that everyone clearly understands that our efforts to achieve a downward trend in the number of COVID-19 cases in the region could be jeopardized if

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