Can a Legitimate College Football Champion Be Crowned in a Season Marred by COVID-19?

College football’s unprecedented season has resulted in twists that might cause some to believe crowning a national champion might come with an asterisk. In a season where the health and safety of players and coaches are in flux, it has shifted the strength of schedule – making it harder to seed teams as we head into playoffs. Brendan Gulick of BuckeyesNow joined SI’s Robin Lundberg to share his insight into what the finish line might look like in this year’s college football season.

Daily Cover: Ohio State runs out of the tunnel

Read more of SI’s Daily Cover stories here.

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Eugene Omoruyi erupts for career-high 31 points, but Oregon men’s basketball drops season opener to Missouri

In its first game in 271 days, Oregon was led by a player who waited even longer to return to the court.

Eugene Omoruyi, a redshirt senior who sat out last season after transferring from Rutgers, scored a career-high 31 points and had 11 rebounds for the No. 21 Ducks in an 83-75 season-opening loss to Missouri on Wednesday night at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

“Eugene fought his tail off to keep us in the game,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “Without his physicality and him playing like he did, we hoo. He was by far the brightest spot competitive-wise, toughness-wise. He made up for a lot of guys. Unbelievable effort. Thought he played hard and played well.”

It was a performance 631 days in the making for Omoruyi, who averaged 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds in 2018-19 for the Scarlet Knights and last played in a college basketball game in the Big Ten Tournament on March 13, 2019.

Omoruyi opened his UO tenure with his eighth career double-double, shooting 10 of 19 from the field including 2 of 6 from three-point range and 9 of 11 at the foul line. Seven of his 11 rebounds were on the offensive end.

But it wasn’t enough to win, as Chris Duarte (22 points) and Eric Williams Jr. (13 points, nine rebounds) were the only other Ducks to score in double figures.

Altman said he knew Omoruyi would be a double-figure scorer for the Ducks because of his time at Rutgers and his work ethic.

“He’s been our hardest worker in practice,” Altman said. “He’s done a tremendous job. I thought he would play well tonight and he sure did. He tried taking charges, he tried to do everything for us. A really, really good effort. … That’s as hard-nosed a performance as we’ve had from an inside guy in a long time.”

Xavier Pinson scored 22 points to lead five players in double figures for the Tigers, who led 42-31 at halftime thanks to an edge in turnovers and rebounding. Both teams took better care of the ball in the second half, though, and Oregon dominated the glass 23-12 after the break.

Altman wasn’t pleased with UO’s first half execution on offense, particularly at guard, but put the onus largely on himself for transfer Amauri Hardy (three points, five assists and four turnovers) and freshman Jalen Terry (0 for 4, one assist) struggling at running the point due to Will Richardson being out for six weeks following left thumb surgery for an injury he suffered earlier in the week.

“Some of those turnovers were flat embarrassing,” Altman said. “I can’t put it any other way and I told the guys that. I said, ‘Fellas, we’re tossing the ball around here like we haven’t done anything. I know I’m asking you guys to do a few more different things but we got to be able to make adjustments here because Will’s going to be gone for a while.’”

Omoruyi

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Football Regular Season Finale, Basketball Talk and Stats

Locked on Boston College a daily Eagles podcast hosted by AJ Black editor and publisher of BC Bulletin has a new episode available today. Make sure to listen to all our episodes on your favorite podcast directory. 

In today’s episode we are joined by show cohost Eric Hoffses to talk about this weekend’s game against the University of Virginia. We look at the statistics of the Cavaliers, and the roster, and realize the Eagles could be playing “BC lite” this weekend. We talk about the Cavaliers season to date and Hoffses gives his prediction for the game.

On top of that, you can always count on Hoffses to give some expert basketball analysis. He looks at the first three games and talks about his takeaways from the opening of the season. What has he liked? What concerns him? 

Finally, we talk about statistics and our culture’s tendency to use them for everything. While they can be useful, in some cases they don’t paint a complete picture. We look at how SP+ and Pro Football Focus really haven’t been able to capture the real talent of BC with their statistical systems. 

Listen below. And if you enjoy our podcast make sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast app. Just look up Locked on Boston College If you are on Apple ITunes, give us a five star rating and let other BC fans know why you like the pod. It will help other fans find us! Follow the podcast on Twitter as well, at @LockedonBC

You can follow us for future coverage by clicking “Follow” on the top righthand corner of the page. Also be sure to like us on Facebook & Twitter:

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Twitter – @BostonCollegeSI and AJ Black at @AJBlack_BC

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Eugene Omoruyi erupts for career-high 31 points, 11 rebounds but Oregon men’s basketball drops season opener to Missouri

In its first game in 271 days, Oregon was led by a player who waited even longer to return to the court.

Eugene Omoruyi, a redshirt-senior who sat out last season after transferring from Rutgers, scored a career-high 31 points and had 11 rebounds for the No. 21 Ducks in a 83-75 season-opening loss to Missouri Wednesday night at the the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Neb.

It was a performance 631 days in the making for Omuruyi, who averaged 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds in 2018-19 for the Scarlet Knights and last played in a college basketball game in the Big Ten Tournament on March 13, 2019.

Omuruyi opened his UO tenure with his eighth career double-double, but it wasn’t enough to win as only Chris Duarte (22 points) and Eric Williams Jr. (13 points, nine rebounds) were the only other Ducks in double-figures.

Xavier Pinson scored 22 points to lead five players in double-figures for the Tigers, who led 42-31 at halftime thanks to an edge in turnovers and rebounding. Both teams took better care of the ball in the second half though and Oregon dominated the glass 23-12 after the break.

Omuruyi scored 12 straight spanning the end of the first half into the start of the second to get UO within 42-37. But Pinson scored eight points as part of a 12-2 Missouri run in response.

Duarte hit a three to pull Oregon within 76-71 with 45.4 to go, but the Ducks couldn’t get any closer.

The Oregonian/OregonLive will update this story.

———

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Miami University hockey prepares for most unusual season

One key difference is, unlike the UND basketball team, the ice hockey Fighting Hawks are ranked No. 1 in the country in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls, but Bergeron probably would have welcomed playing the National Hockey League-champion Tampa Bay Lightning if it meant getting his team on the ice against a team wearing another uniform.

Miami is scheduled to meet Omaha, which was ranked sixth in the NCHC media poll, on Saturday, followed by a matchup on Sunday against Minnesota-Duluth, which was ranked third in the nation in the USCHO.com poll and fourth in the USAToday/USA Hockey Magazine poll.

After the Omaha pod experience, Miami is scheduled to resume what is expected to be a 26-game regular-season schedule with home games against Western Michigan on Jan. 2-3.

“We’re excited to get the season going,” Bergeron said. “For the players’ sake, we’re ready to see where we’re at.

“I think they’ve gotten used to going with the flow and figuring things out. We’ll do the best we can. We’re excited to play somebody else.”

Coming off an 8-21-5 season that was cut short during the conference tournament by the COVID-19 pandemic, Miami was picked in the NCHC media poll to finish last in the eight-team conference this season. Senior forward Casey Gilling is the top returning scorer with 31 points last season, including nine goals, and he tied for the team in assists with 22 assists. Sophomore forwards Ryan Savage and Chase Pletzke are back after each scoring 14 points as freshmen last man,

Bergeron is working with a lot of new faces. Miami’s roster features three transfers and seven freshmen, including goalkeeper Ludvig Persson, a native of Sweden who finished in the top five in the North American Hockey League in goals-against average and save percentage last season.

“We’re happy with where the guys are at in comparison to last year,” Bergeron said. “We’re more comfortable with each other. They know our expectations. It’s hard to tell where we are in comparison to last year, but I can you that, as a group, they’re so much more comfortable with what’s expected and the role they’re in from where we were a year ago.”

Besides putting names together with faces, Bergeron has faced the challenge of preparing his team for three weeks in a pod modeled after those used by the NHL and National Basketball Association to finish their seasons in quarantine.

“We have to get the team ready for all that,” he said. “We watched the NBA on the court and the NHL on the ice, but you don’t know what it’s going to be like to be in a hotel room for three weeks. On the ice, we’ve kind of been giving them ideas of what their days will look like on game day, but when it’s not game day, we’ll be trying other things. It’s different for college kids. You’re normally preparing to play next Friday and Saturday. Now, we have to cut

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Men’s college basketball BPI projections for 2020-21 season

Gonzaga is good, but the Basketball Power Index thinks Villanova is the best team in college basketball.

On Dec. 3, Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis plays host to the Jimmy V Men’s Classic.

The games are part of V Week from Dec. 1-12. Donate to the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

The top rating in BPI translates to a 12% chance (through Monday’s games) for Villanova to win it all in Indianapolis. Baylor, No. 2 in BPI, is right behind at 11%. Iowa, Virginia, Gonzaga and Texas Tech are the only other teams with a more than 5% chance to win the title.

Why should you care? Teams in the top four in preseason BPI have won the national championship in 10 of the past 12 complete seasons, with both UConn titles being the exceptions. (This includes seasons that were back-tested in the model’s creation.)

For the unfamiliar, BPI is our quantitative model that rates every Division I basketball team and projects the entire season from November through the Final Four.

A breakdown of the machinations of BPI can be found here, but the abridged version is that in the preseason, ratings are built on four factors:

  • Quantity of experience on roster (including transfers)

  • Quality of that experience

  • Recruiting rankings for incoming freshmen, with extra emphasis on five-star players

  • Coach’s past performance

Then we use that rating to simulate the remainder of the season. It is important to note that BPI considers only regular-season games that are currently scheduled, announced conference tournaments and NCAA tournament formats.

2 Related

Once games are played, ratings are updated based on team performance, adjusted for opponent, pace, home court, travel distance, rest and high altitude. For this season, the home-court advantage is reduced by 50% because of limited in-arena fan attendance.

BPI does not factor in gambling information such as game lines or futures and, as such, is independent of public opinion. BPI favorites have won 73% of the time since 2017 in Division I vs. Division I games. Although not meant to “beat” the odds, BPI has done well against the spread in early-season game predictions. Since we started tracking in 2017, BPI is better than 60% against the spread in games in November and December. In that same period, it is a little lower than 50% the remainder of the college basketball season.

Preseason top five

The top five this season before tip-off was Villanova, Iowa, Baylor, Gonzaga and Virginia. Despite Gonzaga’s strong start and the Cavaliers’ loss to San Francisco, Virginia has crept ahead of Gonzaga thanks to its better-than-expected performance against Towson to start the season.

What did BPI see in these teams before the season started?

For each returning player, BPI looks at the highest percentage of team minutes played in a previous season. It then adds these up for each team, which I call the “best-case returning minutes.” Each of the top five, minus Gonzaga, is above 95% in best-case returning minutes, and Gonzaga is at 86%.

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As expected, the college hoops season is off to a rocky start. Here’s what health experts have to say about the upcoming season

We’re a week into the 2020-21 college basketball season, and the 11-time national champion UConn women’s basketball team has been strangely absent from fans’ TV screens. That’s how it’ll stay until at least mid-December.

Five days prior to what would have been the Huskies’ season opener, a member of the program (not a player or coach) tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in a two-week pause of team activities that wiped out the team’s three early nonconference games. The shutdown arose less than a week after the UConn men returned from a shutdown of their own due to a player testing positive.

With COVID-19 cases surging nationwide, UConn is far from the only school that needed to delay the start of its basketball season or pause things a few days in after someone contracted the virus. In the Big East alone, nine of 11 member schools have publicly disclosed temporary shutdowns for either one of their basketball teams this fall. Six teams have paused activities within the last two weeks.

In interviews with The Courant, public health and medical experts offered best practices as the NCAA moves forward with its season. Here’s what those experts had to say about the risks of playing basketball and how programs can mitigate them moving forward.

Basketball is a challenge

Basketball isn’t the first college sport to return to play, but it is one with unique challenges. It’s played indoors, where the virus is believed to spread more easily. Close contact in games, though relatively transient, is unavoidable. Smaller rosters mean fewer people pose a risk in contracting the virus, but also make the quarantining or isolation of even a handful of players more detrimental.

We’ve seen how basketball can be held safely: The NBA and WNBA had zero COVID-19 cases during their three-month “bubble” seasons, which took place at clean sites in Orlando and Bradenton, Fla., and featured daily testing. For financial, logistical and philosophical reasons, adopting that exact model is infeasible for college sports, though variations are being explored. Mohegan Sun is currently hosting 30+ teams at “Bubbleville,” while the Big East’s contingency plans for after the new year include a bubble or series of mini-bubbles involving shorter stays.

Dr. Karl Minges, chair of health administration and policy at the University of New Haven, said that the long-term effects of COVID-19 remain unclear (there’s not enough data yet, for example, to rule out that the virus can cause cardiac issues like myocarditis), and there’s plenty of evidence that it disproportionately affects Black and Latino people. Per the NCAA, 68 percent of Division I women’s basketball players and 77 percent of men’s players are people of color.

Even with schools and jurisdictions like UConn’s prohibiting fans at games, there’s growing evidence that outbreaks on college campuses have negative impacts on the broader community. A study in La Crosse, Wis. showed that COVID-19 clusters from college campuses were responsible for infections, and deaths, in nursing homes.

Travel is risky

Actual gameplay may not be the

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What to look for when betting on college basketball games, like Kansas vs. Kentucky, early in the season

Hey, welcome to your Tuesday afternoon. Before we get into today’s news and picks, I’d like to publicly thank the man who writes the morning version of this newsletter, Pete Blackburn. Pete led off this morning’s newsletter with the sentence, “welcome to December!”

Reading that sentence this morning was the moment when I realized it was December. Where does the time go? I swear, it feels like it was only yesterday when I could go outside and be amongst other people without the crippling fear that they were all capable of killing me just by saying “hello” a little too closely.

Anyway, hi! It’s December! I hope you’re enjoying your first day of the final month of this disaster of a year. I have been. I’ve been watching Champions League soccer on CBS All Access, and not just because I get it for free as a CBS employee. Tonight, I’ll be watching college basketball as there are a couple of substantial top 20 matchups for us on tap, and I have picks for both below. What I won’t be watching tonight is the Steelers and Ravens because, as you no doubt know by now, that game was postponed for roughly the tenth time in the last few days and will now be played on Wednesday afternoon.

I do not have a play for that game for you. I’m sorry, but I have no idea who is even playing in it, making it extremely difficult to handicap. If you absolutely have to bet on something, do what I do when I’m bored and just take the under. It’s not an awful strategy, honestly.

Anyway, before we get to the bets I sincerely recommend we catch up on today’s proceedings.

OK, let’s make some money.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

No. 7 Kansas vs. No. 20 Kentucky, 9:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Under 143 (-110)
: As I’ve been telling you in this newsletter, I don’t like betting college basketball early in the season as much as I do later in the year. We tend to have a better idea of what teams are after a few games. We aren’t there yet, but thankfully, I have some things I do look for early in the year. I want neutral site games because the under tends to be a good play in them, and I think this happens to be one of the better values on the board tonight.

Want picks in your inbox every weekday afternoon? Click here to subscribe to our CBS HQ PM newsletter

Have you noticed that while Kentucky continues to send players to the NBA, the Wildcats don’t have as many lottery picks as they used to? There’s a reason for it. In recent seasons, the NBA has become a league of shooting and … Kentucky can’t shoot very well and. Tyler Herro is the one Kentucky player to be taken in the last three drafts to

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College football TV schedule for Week 14 of 2020 season

Below is the college football TV and live stream schedule for Week 14 of the 2020 season. All times Central:

Thursday, Dec. 3

Louisiana Tech at North Texas, 5:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network (CBS Sports)

Air Force at Utah State, 8:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network (CBS Sports)

Friday, Dec. 4

Louisiana at Appalachian State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN (ESPN+)

Boise State at UNLV, 8:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network (CBS Sports)

Saturday, Dec. 5

Ohio State at Michigan State, 11 a.m., ABC (ESPN+)

Texas at Kansas State, 11 a.m., Fox (Fox Sports Go)

Texas A&M at Auburn, 11 a.m., ESPN (ESPN+)

Oklahoma State at TCU, 11 a.m., ESPN2 (ESPN+)

Arkansas at Missouri, 11 a.m., SEC Network (ESPN+)

Penn State at Rutgers, 11 a.m., Big Ten Network (Fox Sports Go)

Western Carolina at North Carolina, 11 a.m., ACC Network (ESPN+)

Nebraska at Purdue, 11 a.m., Big Ten Network (Fox Sports Go)

Kansas at Texas Tech, 11 a.m., Fox Sports 2 (Fox Sports Go)

Kent State at Miami (Ohio), 11 a.m., CBS Sports Network (CBS Sports)

Syracuse at Notre Dame, 1:30 p.m., NBC (NBC live stream)

Liberty at Coastal Carolina, 1 p.m., ESPNU (ESPN+)

Indiana at Wisconsin, 2:30 p.m., ABC (ESPN+)

Florida at Tennessee, 2:30 p.m., CBS (SEC on CBS)

West Virginia at Iowa State, 2:30 p.m., ESPN (ESPN+)

Tulsa at Navy, 2:30 p.m., ESPN2 (ESPN+)

Iowa at Illinois, 2:30 p.m., Big Ten Network (Fox Sports Go)

Maryland at Michigan, 2:30 p.m., Big Ten Network (Fox Sports Go)

Boston College at Virginia, 2:30 p.m., Fox Sports South (Fox Sports Go)

Buffalo at Ohio, 2:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network (CBS Sports)

Stanford at Washington, 3 p.m., Fox (Fox Sports Go)

Georgia Tech at North Carolina State, 3 p.m., ACC Network (ESPN+)

Ball State at Central Michigan, 4:30 p.m., ESPNU (ESPN+)

Oregon at California, 6 p.m., ESPN (ESPN+)

Colorado at Arizona, 6 p.m., Fox Sports 1 (Fox Sports Go)

Colorado State at San Diego State, 6 p.m., CBS Sports Network (CBS Sports)

Clemson at Virginia Tech, 6:30 p.m., ABC (ESPN+)

South Carolina at Kentucky, 6:30 p.m., SEC Network (ESPN+)

Alabama at LSU, 7 p.m., CBS (SEC on CBS)

Baylor at Oklahoma, 7 p.m., Fox (Fox Sports Go)

Miami at Duke, 7 p.m., ACC Network (ESPN+)

Houston at SMU, 8 p.m., ESPNU (ESPN+)

Oregon State at Utah, 9:30 p.m., ESPN (ESPN+)

UCLA at Arizona State, 9:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1 (Fox Sports Go)

Wyoming at New Mexico, 9:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network (CBS Sports)

Fresno State at Nevada, 9:30 p.m., Fox Sports 2 (Fox Sports Go)

Select games are also available via FUBO.tv. Click HERE for subscription information.

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Oxford University podcast’s third season to take listeners on a journey through historical pandemics

The University of Oxford’s CASE Gold Award winning podcast, Futuremakers, will return for its third season at the end of October. Featuring a sweeping original soundtrack, the podcast will take listeners on a narrative journey through ten significant pandemics across humanity’s history, from the Siege of Athens to the 2014 Western African Ebola outbreak, via the Black Death and Spanish Flu.

Join host, Gilbert Ryle Fellow and Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College, University of Oxford, Peter Millican, as he takes a journey through ten historical outbreaks, asking what we know of what happened at the time, whether we might learn anything for today’s COVID-19 pandemic, and what might be coming in the future.

Episode list:

1: Athens: the first plague?

2: The Plague of Justinian

3. The Black Death

4: The Great Plague

5: Smallpox, and Jenner

6: Cholera, and John Snow

7: The Flu Pandemic… that wasn’t?

8: The Spanish Flu

9: HIV and AIDS

10: Ebola 2014

Featuring a diverse range of notable voices from the University of Oxford and across the globe on every episode, each episode reflects the conversations and global collaboration that underpins the heart of scientific endeavor.

This season follows on from two highly successful seasons covering the implications of climate change and artificial intelligence on our society and how we live, and a one-off special exploring the ‘race’ to develop the world’s first truly scalable quantum computer.

The first five episodes of the series will be released this Sunday 29 November 2020, across a wide range of platforms including Apple and Spotify, and you can find the full list and more information about the series at https://bit.ly/TheHistoryOfPandemics

Futuremakers is produced by Ben Harwood and Steve Pritchard for the University of Oxford, with Season 3’s cinematic score being composed and recorded by Richard Watts.

You can download the podcast at: http://bit.ly/futureMAKERS (AudioBoom), http://bit.ly/FUTUREmakers (Apple) or from any of the platforms listed here https://bit.ly/TheHistoryOfPandemics

To get in touch with the production team, or arrange interviews Prof. Millican or with any of the guests from the University of Oxford, contact [email protected]

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