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How Many Games Will Oklahoma State Football Play in 2020?

The season is … going to happen.



[Photo via Bruce Waterfield, Oklahoma State Athletics]

If I would have told you nine months ago that OSU would be a 10-win team in 2020, you would have been excited. If I told you that right now, you would be ecstatic. OSU’s normal 12-game schedule has been reduced to 10 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are questions about how many of those games will even be played when the season starts next week.

According to OKC Dave’s excellent recent survey, over half of OSU fans believe that all 10 games will be played. Slightly less than half believe that at least one will be canceled. I’ve waffled back and forth on this, and I’m not totally sure what to think.

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That’s why I was intrigued to see what Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said on Monday about the Big 12, which will test three times a week for COVID-19.

“The Big 12 has policies, (and) we’re using the 53-man roster policy,” Pollard told reporters on a call on Monday. “So a 53-man roster is built on a set number of positions. So I think it’s one quarterback, six offensive linemen and you come up with 53 [players]. So the antigen test the Big 12 uses on Friday will be the certification test.”

There’s a lot going on here so let’s dive into it. Each team has 85 scholarship players, which equates to more actual players because of walk-ons. So even if 30 scholarship players are out with COVID-19 based on a Friday-before-a-game test, you can theoretically still play as long as you have a quarterback and six offensive linemen to protect that quarterback (kind of ironic that the offensive linemen are the ones that need to be protected the most throughout the week!).

That 53 number is an NFL-like figure, and it also seems incredibly reasonable (if not likely?) that teams would be able to stay above it (the OL thing might be a different story). OSU currently has just two active cases in its football program.

“As long as you have at least 53 players certified to play and you have the minimum number at every one of those positions comprising the 53 [man roster], then you have to play,” added Pollard. “If you’re less than that 53, then you can have a no-contest. And the first step would be to try and reschedule during one of the bye dates. But if not, it doesn’t technically count against the team that ends up with the no contest. But it was a uniform policy that we wanted to adopt to, in essence, take some gamesmanship out of what could happen potentially later in the year.”

I believe the only positions he’s referencing are offensive line and quarterback, but this lays out what a canceled (or postponed) game might look like. Oklahoma State has conference bye weeks built-in on Oct.10 and Nov. 14 if a game needs to be made up.

To be honest, this is the most compelling thing I’ve seen over the last, I don’t know, three months that we’re going to see a full season. If you have 40 guys done with COVID-19 then you have bigger problems than whatever game is happening that Saturday afternoon. So though I’ve flip-flopped back and forth on whether OSU is going to get this full season in, this latest piece of news solidifies it for me. With the built-in byes and these regulations, I think it’s going to be all or nothing this season for the Big 12, and it’s not going to be nothing.

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