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Virus touches college football, from upending schedules to making coaches ill

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If coach Dana Holgorsen seemed relieved after his University of Houston football team finally played a game Thursday night, no one can blame him. Five times the Cougars had season-opening opponents either cancel or postpone games because of the coronavirus pandemic.

When finally allowed on the field, the Cougars overcame five turnovers to outlast Tulane 49-31.

“We won, so that’s good, but there’s a lot of things we’ve got to get better at,” Holgorsen told reporters.

Houston’s story is only one of several to play out this season as colleges return to campus and try to find a way to coexist with COVID-19. Through Thursday, 26 FBS games had been postponed or canceled since the season began. That’s in addition to the upheaval of conferences retooling their schedules for later starts and shorter seasons.

The Gophers are scheduled to open a nine-game Big Ten season on Oct. 24 against Michigan.

In Houston’s case, the season was supposed to start Sept. 3 vs. Rice, but the Owls dropped out because of COVID-19. The next game, vs. Washington State, was eliminated when the Pac-12 originally canceled its season. The next game, vs. Memphis, was postponed, and the Cougars scrambled to fill that date with Baylor, until the Bears canceled 48 hours before kickoff. North Texas became the fifth program to beg out, canceling the Sept. 26 game.

“You can’t compare this to anything. … This is on a whole ‘nother level,” Holgorsen said earlier this week. “The one thing that has given us hope is we sit here and watch other teams playing.”

Familiar names impacted

When Notre Dame and Florida State meet Saturday night in South Bend, Ind., on display will be two teams whose seasons have been impacted greatly by COVID-19.

The fifth-ranked Fighting Irish return after their Sept. 26

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With college basketball schedules resetting, Gonzaga and Baylor set brutal slates — and that’s a great thing

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Gonzaga is No. 1 in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1. And Baylor is No. 2. It’s an uncommon couple atop the polls heading into an uncommon — well, unprecedented — season. 

But do you realize what these programs are doing? To this point, here’s what the nonconference schedules are looking like for the two Final Four contenders. 

For Gonzaga:

  • vs. No. 11 Michigan State (potentially) in Orlando in late November
  • vs. No. 12 Tennessee in Orlando on Dec. 2
  • vs. No. 2 Baylor in Indianapolis on Dec. 5
  • vs. No. 5 Iowa in South Dakota on Dec. 19

For Baylor:

Keep in mind there will be more games against NCAA Tournament-level teams for both schools when they squeeze in additional tilts in Orlando, where ESPN is going to house dozens of teams and numerous multi-team events. Mark Few and Scott Drew, two coaches who’ve never won a national title and only one of whom has made a Final Four, are scheduling like degree of difficulty will get them to the promised land. 

I love it. Can you imagine if college basketball always had this? By that I mean: regularly had two of its top three or four teams not only explicitly seeking each other out to play in the nonconference, but also were borderline obsessed with playing the hardest out-of-league slate possible? It’s what the 2020-21 season has delivered with the Bulldogs and Bears.

These two aren’t the only top 10-caliber teams seeking difficult schedules, I know. Expect Kansas to be very rugged again, for instance. No. 4 Virginia is targeting to play Florida, and should also have No. 3 Villanova on the schedule. No. 5 Iowa told Gonzaga it’s totally up for a throwdown in South Dakota. It’s a fabulous thing for college basketball. If all teams

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Portland middle school schedules clarified, rural district pushes to reopen high school: The week in education

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In late July, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said students may not see the inside of a classroom for months if the state didn’t curb steadily rising coronavirus infections.

For much of August, the average daily rate of new cases steadily fell until it hit a season low in mid-September. Then, rates started to climb.

New state modeling shows what Oregon health officials call a “discouraging” trend as the most optimistic scenario forecasts an average of 800 new cases per day by Oct. 22, or about 19 per 100,000 residents.

That’s nearly double the threshold state health and education officials set for all of Oregon’s students to return to in-person instruction.

Those rising infection rates have dashed some districts’ hopes of allowing their students back into classrooms, most notably in Lane and Douglas counties, where spikes in case counts scuttled districts’ hopes of a state-sanctioned reopening.

Here are some of the biggest education stories from across the state:

Education stories from the Portland area:

Portland Public Schools officials offered a mea culpa over what they say was “fuzzy” communication regarding middle school schedules that had parents wondering why their children were only guaranteed 4 1/2 hours of live synchronous instruction per week.

Chief of Schools Shawn Bird told The Oregonian/Oregonlive that some teachers and principals interpreted the schedules to mean they were only allowed to offer three live, whole-class lessons per day on Monday and Tuesday.

“It was fuzzy and I take responsibility for it,” he said. “Hopefully we’re all on the same page now.”

And across the state:

For five consecutive weeks, Douglas County saw fewer than 10 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, clearing the bar set by the state to offer in-person instruction for all of its students. (With various distancing and cohorting measures in place.)

On Sept.

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NASA schedules the first Crew Dragon operational flight for Halloween

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“The new target date will deconflict the Crew-1 launch and arrival from upcoming Soyuz launch and landing operations. This additional time is needed to ensure closure of all open work, both on the ground and aboard the station, ahead of the Crew-1 arrival. The increased spacing also will provide a good window of opportunity to conduct additional testing to isolate the station atmosphere leak if required. SpaceX continues to make progress on preparations of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket, and the adjusted date allows the teams additional time for completing open work ahead of launch.”

The mission will take NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, as well as JAXA’s Soichi Noguchi, to the ISS. There will stay there for six months. SpaceX delivered the Crew Dragon spacecraft that will be used for this flight to Cape Canaveral in Florida back in August. The capsule will launch on top of a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Halloween at around 2:40AM Eastern time.

NASA says it’s in the final stages of the data reviews needed for the company’s certification following Demo—2. It will broadcast a series of media briefings to provide updates about the certification process and to talk about the Crew-1 mission starting on September 29th, 11 AM Eastern.

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