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College football should not expect full stadiums any time soon as COVID-19 likely to impact 2021 season

Dan Mullen was smacked upside the headset this week by COVID-19. Nineteen of his players tested positive the same week Florida’s coach advocated for his administration to allow fans to “pack The Swamp” this week against LSU to foster a “competitive advantage.” Never mind a packed stadium being antithetical to those players’ health — at least for now and probably for a while.

Despite Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recent decree that stadiums can be filled to capacity, University of Florida officials have said they will continue to adhere to safety guidelines. College and professional teams across the state have as well. Mullen will have to find his competitive advantage elsewhere during a global pandemic.

Meanwhile, multiple medical professionals reached by CBS Sports say there indeed a long way to go before we’re sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in full stadiums again.

“I think we should assume that we’re going to be exactly where we are today 11 months from now, until proven otherwise,” said Dr. Michael Saag, UAB professor of medicine and infectious diseases.

Saag is referring to the beginning of the 2021 season, which is 10 ½ months away. Even with a COVID-19 vaccine, these medical professionals say an assumption that this is a one-and-done year for coronavirus inconvenience is misguided.

“The short answer is: Once a vaccine is developed and mass-administered, maybe next [football] season,” said Zach Binney, an epidemiologist at Emory University. “But that depends a lot on the competence of and logistics of a national vaccination itself.”

That is a huge undertaking, according to Dr. John Ervin, who is overseeing some of the nation’s most important COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials at the Center for Pharmaceutical Research in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Until we get a proven vaccine that works, it may be that this [coronavirus] is going to mutate,” Ervin said. “We may have to change to a different vaccine. I think we’re waiting until easily next year until we get on top of this. And then it really has to do with the acceptance of vaccinations. I pray to God that the anti-vaxxers [don’t grow].”

Ervin added that, in a best-case scenario, stadiums will be at capacity next fall. A vaccine could be ready by next year, but there are multiple issues at hand. In order to get back to filling stadiums, the vaccine needs to be widely distributed, and it needs to be determined not only who to let in to those stadiums but how.

Ervin pointed out that team may want to identify who has been vaccinated before admitting them into a stadium. If not, what’s the point stamping out COVID-19? A February soccer match in Italy has already been linked to being the event that spread the virus throughout the country.

“We don’t need more evidence to know [filling stadiums] is a bad idea,” Binney said. “And anyone who says, ‘But they’ll wearing masks,’ I’d encourage you to look at crowd shots of any SEC game this year. Take a deep breath and try saying [that]

It’s college essay season. Here’s how parents can help without being helicopters.

Beyond telegraphing to students that it’s okay to cheat, the message these parents sent to their children was: You know all that hard work you did in high school? None of it is good enough.

Admittedly, the college application process can be overwhelming, and kids could use some assistance navigating it all. But if the college application process feels like it’s gotten out of hand, we parents—with our resources and connections, degrees and expectations—are at least partly to blame.

“Can we just say how crazy it is that we even have to have this conversation in the first place?” says Macy Lenox, a mom of two and an associate dean of admissions at University of Virginia. “As a parent myself, I don’t come to this from a place of judgement, but from one of understanding. We’re drowning our kids in our best intentions. We’ve lost sight of our job, which is not to be the applicant, but to be the best supporters of the applicant we can be.” This means demonstrating confidence in their abilities, says Lenox. “By doing things for them, you’re saying I can do this better than you. Part of our job is empowering them to be advocates for themselves; to be successful in college, you’ve got to be able to use your own voice.”

Yet when we hear stories from friends or read posts on social media about all the hoop-jumping necessary to get into college these days, it’s understandably crazy-making. Even the most stalwart defenders of their kids’ independence can lose sight of the line between supporting and doing the work for them. And while most parents would rightfully balk at the idea of, say, rigging their kid’s SAT score, or Photoshopping their child’s face onto the body of an athlete in a sport their kid doesn’t play, the writing of college essays—with their lack of oversight, benchmarks or guarantees—remains a gray area.

Shawn Felton, senior director of undergraduate admissions at Cornell University, stresses how essential it is that kids don’t leapfrog over the opportunities for introspection intrinsic in writing essays. “Applying to college is a milestone marked by an applicant’s commitment to invest in further engaging, understanding and communicating themselves [to people] beyond those who have always known them,” Felton tells me. “Colleges ask applicants to take a look inside themselves and consider who they are and what they want. My hope is that individuals invest in better knowing themselves during this moment, and that they bring a real authenticity to communicating with colleges when writing their essays.”

Parents can, however, support their kids through this process, which includes encouraging them to do the challenging and ultimately gratifying work of telling their story on the page. Here, college admissions experts offer four reasons why parents should take a step back—and one way we can lean into the moment.

Writing their college essays helps kids gear up for success after high school. “The admission experience is a precursor to life in college—parents are

The Atlantic hurricane season isn’t over yet

But it’s 2020, and the Atlantic may have other ideas. A weather pattern that encourages air masses to rise, leading to increased showers and thunderstorms, looks likely to overspread the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean by late in the month into early November. This pattern change could once again raise the odds of tropical development, provided other air and ocean ingredients are present as well.

In a typical storm season, the Atlantic averages one named storm after Oct. 19, which would suggest that even in an average year we wouldn’t be quite done yet. However, this season is anything but typical, considering we are pacing more than a month ahead of the busiest season on record, which occurred in 2005, and have dipped into the Greek alphabet for only the second time.

It’s plausible that the Atlantic basin may cap off its hyperactive season with a robust final act.

Near-term tropical activity

While there are no named systems in the Atlantic right now, the week has kicked off with an area to watch about 700 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. The National Hurricane Center gave it a 30 percent chance of developing into a tropical storm during the next five days.

While the system is unlikely to become intense, it did have some of the looks of a tropical depression or tropical storm on Monday.

Visible satellite imagery shows the presence of a low-level center of circulation, with cloudiness pinwheeling around a spiral vortex. To the east, showers and thunderstorms are blossoming, but whether or not those manage to position themselves over that low-level center remains a wild card in the prospects of development.

The system is struggling due to the presence of dry air and harsh upper level winds that are choking some of its thunderstorms, which can be seen in the surging outflow boundaries, or thunderstorm exhaust bands, pushing northwest, away from the main areas of rainfall.

Data from a scatterometer instrument on a satellite showed the possible presence of 35 mph winds with the system, meaning it could be labeled a tropical depression — the precursor to a tropical storm. A scatterometer uses electromagnetic pulses to derive wind speeds based on ocean surface roughness and the dynamics of how winds affect waves.

Downpours from whatever becomes of the system should arrive in the Leeward Islands late Wednesday into Thursday. In the off chance the system picks up a name, Epsilon is the next name up.

Longer-term prospects

Looking ahead, it appears that tropical activity should remain at a relative minimum for the next week to week and a half. Thereafter, things may start to perk back up as we head into late October and early November.

That’s when the next area of broad rising motion associated with a convectively-coupled Kelvin wave arrives in the western Atlantic. A convectively-coupled Kelvin wave is a midsized overturning circulation in the atmosphere that meanders around the tropics; on one side of such a wave, air is more prone to rise,

College football TV schedule for Week 7 of 2020 season

Below is the college football TV and live stream schedule for Week 7 of the 2020 season. All times Central:

Wednesday, Oct. 14

Coastal Carolina at Louisiana, 6:30 p.m., ESPN (ESPN+)

Thursday, Oct. 15

Georgia State at Arkansas State, 6:30 p.m., ESPN (ESPN+)

Friday, Oct. 16

SMU at Tulane, 5 p.m., ESPN (ESPN+)

BYU at Houston, 8:30 p.m., ESPN (ESPN+)

Saturday, Oct. 17

Clemson at Georgia Tech, 11 a.m., ABC (ESPN+)

Auburn at South Carolina, 11 a.m., ESPN (ESPN+)

Cincinnati at Tulsa, 11 a.m., ESPN2 (ESPN+)

Texas State at South Alabama, 11 a.m., ESPNU (ESPN+)

Kentucky at Tennessee, 11 a.m., SEC Network (ESPN+)

Pittsburgh at Miami, 11 a.m., ACC Network (ESPN+)

Kansas at West Virginia, 11 a.m., Fox Sports 1 (Fox Sports Go)

Liberty at Syracuse, 11 a.m., Fox Sports South (Fox Sports Go)

Western Kentucky at UAB, 12:30 p.m., Fox Sports Southeast (Fox Sports Go)

Army at Texas San Antonio, 12:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network (CBS Sports)

Louisville at Notre Dame, 1:30 p.m., NBC (NBC Sports Live)

UCF at Memphis, 2:30 p.m., ABC (ESPN+)

LSU at Florida, 2:30 p.m., ESPN (ESPN+)

Ole Miss at Arkansas, 2:30 p.m., ESPN2 (ESPN+)

Duke at North Carolina State, 2:30 p.m., Fox Sports South (Fox Sports Go)

UMass at Georgia Southern, 3 p.m., ESPNU (ESPN+)

Texas A&M at Mississippi State, 3 p.m., SEC Network (ESPN+)

Virginia at Wake Forest, 3 p.m., ACC Network (ESPN+)

North Texas at Middle Tennessee State, 4 p.m., Fox Sports Southeast (Fox Sports Go)

Marshall at Louisiana Tech, 5 p.m., CBS Sports Network (CBS Sports)

North Carolina at Florida State, 6:30 p.m., ABC (ESPN+)

Southern Miss at UTEP, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2 (ESPN+)

Vanderbilt at Missouri, 6:30 p.m., SEC Network (ESPN+)

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

Florida International at Charlotte, 7 p.m., ACC Network (ESPN+)

Boston College at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m., ACC Network (ESPN+)

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

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Highlights from Week 6 of the college football season


Clemson Tigers running back Travis Etienne leaps over Miami Hurricanes safety Gurvan Hall, Jr. during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium.



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Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses (32) and defensive back Malachi Moore (13) tackle Mississippi running back Jerrion Ealy (9) at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.



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Alabama wide receivers DeVonta Smith (6) and John Metchie III (8) celebrate a touchdown against Mississippi at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.



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Georgia linebacker Monty Rice celebrates after a scoop-and-score touchdown in the second half against Tennessee.



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Clemson running back Travis Etienne (9) scores a touchdown during the second quarter against Miami at Memorial Stadium.



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Auburn defensive end Zykeivous Walker (3) celebrates sacking Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) during the first quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium.



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Clemson Tigers corner back Andrew Booth Jr. (23) breaks up a pass intended for the Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Mark Pope (6) during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium.



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Oklahoma players celebrate after the Sooners’ wild win over Texas.



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TCU cornerback Noah Daniels (21) is called for pass interference as he defends against TCU wide receiver Zach Farrar (20) during the second half at Amon G. Carter Stadium.



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Martez Manuel celebrates after the Missouri Tigers’ win over the LSU Tigers at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium.



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BYU tight end Masen Wake (13) hurdles UTSA’s Corey Mayfield Jr. and Antonio Parks in the first half.



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Missouri Tigers running back Tyler Badie stiff-arms LSU Tigers linebacker Damone Clark during the second half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium.



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South Carolina running back Kevin Harris (20) celebrates after a second-half touchdown against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium.



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Former all-state RB opts out rest of high school season to focus on college prep

Former all-state running back and Temple commit Johnny Martin has opted out of the remainder of his senior season at Timber Creek.

First-year Timber Creek football coach Brian Wright said he received a text from Martin on Wednesday night, a few hours after Martin and the Chargers wrapped up practice for Friday’s 15-12 win over Delsea.

“He just texted me Wednesday night and said he was opting out to prepare for college,” said Wright. “That was pretty much the extent of it. I had no inkling he was even thinking about it. It is what it is. I wished him good luck.”

Martin posted three 1,000-yard seasons – including a 2,000-yard season as a sophomore when he was second-team all-state – at Highland the previous three years, though he missed the final four games of his junior campaign after being suspended for an off-the-field incident.

Martin transferred to Timber Creek for his final season. He played in the Chargers’ 21-0 opening-night loss to No. 7 Williamstown, gaining 45 yards on 14 carries and catching two passes for 16 yards.

Prior to the game, Wright talked about how engaged his new running back was in practice, even taking scout-team reps when he wasn’t needed on offense.

“He was awesome,” said Wright, who added the running game will be by committee without Martin. “I liked his mentality, but if his interest is elsewhere then we’ll focus on the kids we have that want to play.”

Timber Creek resumes its season Friday against Martin’s former team, Highland.

Martin didn’t respond to a text and call asking for comment.

Thank you for relying on us to provide the journalism you can trust. Please consider supporting NJ.com with a subscription.

Bill Evans covers the West Jersey Football League. He can be reached at bevans@njadvancemedia.com

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The biggest video board in college football is operational, decorative covering to be finished by Oregon’s season opener

EUGENE — The biggest video board in college football is operational.

Oregon’s new mammoth video board and sound system are installed at Autzen Stadium and the decorative coverings are expected to be added to the $12 million project in time for the Nov. 7 season opener against Stanford.

UO athletic director Rob Mullens gave an update on the project, which was approved the the school’s board of directors in March and was supposed to be completed in time for the original season opener on Sept. 5, during an interview on The James Crepea Show on Friday.

“It’s awesome,” Mullens said. “It’s going to be fantastic. It’s been fully operational for a while, both the sound and the video and fans are going to love it. We’re so pleased to finally get to his project because the fan feedback that we get after every game, this has been at the top of the agenda for several years, particularly the sound, now that we’re able to add some modern video with it.

“It would have been fully operational for the first game. What they’re finishing up is the decorative cladding. We probably would’ve been really tight to get all that done before the first game. Obviously when the Pac-12 pivoted to postpone football (on Aug. 11) we weren’t pushing as hard on the overtime hours and around the clock. Just like a lot of things that happened, there were some manufacturing challenges with some of the decorative cladding. Again, the board was fully operational with sound. We would’ve been close on that first game, but fortunately it will be ready will all the decorative cladding by the time we do open on Nov. 7.”

The 12,276-square foot addition to the East end zone of Autzen Stadium also features a 47′ x 26′ video board facing outside the stadium.

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All Fortnite Season 4 Challenges: Tony Stark’s Hidden Lab, Doom’s Domain Vault, And More

Season 4 of Fortnite: Chapter 2 is rolling along across consoles and PC. This season has introduced a ton of changes to Epic’s hit battle royale shooter, bringing the likes of Thor, Iron Man, Groot, She-Hulk, Storm, and other Marvel superheroes into the game to thwart an invasion by Galactus.

Of course, a new season also means new challenges, and there are already a ton for players to complete. Clearing these tasks will level up your Season 4 battle pass, which in turn will unlock exclusive Marvel-themed cosmetics. In addition to the standard weekly missions, Epic is rolling out a separate set of Wolverine challenges over the course of the season, which you’ll need to complete to unlock the Wolverine skin. There are also Awakening challenges that will unlock emotes and other cosmetic flourishes for Season 4’s other Marvel skins.

Although Season 4 is underway on most platforms, you cannot complete these challenges or play any of this season’s content on iOS devices. You also cannot re-install the game on iOS, as Apple has terminated Epic Games’ developer account. However, you can still play older content if you have the game on your phone.

If you need help completing this season’s missions, we’ve rounded up all of our Fortnite Season 4 maps and guides below. We’ll continue to update this list with additional maps and guides as Season 4 rolls on, so check back often for the latest tips.

Fortnite: Chapter 2, Season 4 Challenges

Wolverine Challenges

Wolverine challenges
Wolverine challenges
  • Investigate mysterious claw marks (3)
  • Find loading screen at Quinjet Patrol Sites
  • Find Wolverine’s Trophy in Dirty Docks
  • Launch off all Sentinel Hands without touhing the ground
  • Locate a Trask Transport Truck
  • Defeat Wolverine [rec: 4 players]
  • Damage with Wolverine’s Claws (200)
  • Regain health as Wolverine (100)

Investigate Mysterious Claw Marks

Fortnite claw marks locations map
Fortnite claw marks locations map

Season 4’s first Wolverine challenge asks you to investigate mysterious claw marks. These can all be found in close proximity to each other around Weeping Woods. The first set of marks can be found on the outside of the northernmost building in the area. The second set is directly south of the building, on a rock north of a small pond. Finally, the third set can be found on an RV in the southeast corner of the area.

Once you’ve investigated all three claw marks, you’ll complete the challenge and unlock the Berserker Barrage spray. You can see where each claw mark is located on the map above.

Find A Sentinel Head At Dirty Docks

Sentinel head location
Sentinel head location

The third Wolverine challenge is a fairly straightforward one: simply find a Sentinel head at Dirty Docks. The area itself is in the easternmost portion of the island, but you’ll find the destroyed Sentinel slightly west of it, in grid square G4. Once you’ve spotted the robot, simply stand on its head and you’ll complete the challenge. Your reward this time will be a special back bling: Wolverine’s Trophy.

Locate A Trask Transport Truck

Trask Transport Truck location
Trask Transport Truck

U decisionmakers called ‘tone-deaf’ for thinking outdoor track doesn’t need indoor season

 

Nearly 20 former and current Gophers athletes sat for hours Friday at the McNamara Alumni Center, waiting to hear the final decision on sports cuts from the Board of Regents.

Among the athletes were a handful representing track and field, who learned early in the meeting that men’s outdoor track would be saved as part of an amended resolution. But eventually, the regents voted 7-5 to eliminate men’s indoor track after this school year, along with men’s gymnastics and men’s tennis.

Based on the immediate buzz, it seemed far from a victory for Gophers men’s track.

“Obviously, it’s pretty shocking and pretty new for us just as an idea,” senior distance runner Jordan MacIntosh said. “Because what is track without indoor? That’s half our sport. Thinking that you can recruit just as well with an outdoor program and no indoor program is pretty naive.”

Athletic director Mark Coyle, who first announced the proposed sports cuts Sept. 10, said Friday’s new resolution sprouted from “ongoing conversations” with the regents.

While at least one regent called it a compromise, MacIntosh reiterated what many of his men’s track teammates told him, that the U decisionmakers “really don’t understand the sport.”

“That shows with their new proposal,” he said.

Among Big Ten men’s programs, the Gophers will join two other schools that don’t offer the standard trio of cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track. Maryland has outdoor track only, and Northwestern has none of the three on the men’s side.

There are an estimated 20 Division I schools in the country that have men’s cross-country and only have men’s outdoor track. In the Pac-12, Oregon State and Utah don’t have men’s track and field, while Southern California has only indoor track on the men’s side.

“These have been difficult, difficult decisions,” Coyle said on a video news conference Friday. “Difficult, difficult conversations. I think [university] President [Joan] Gabel used the word ‘heartbreaking.’”

The Gophers men’s track and field roster for the coming indoor season has 48 athletes, 10 more than the NCAA average. Seventeen of Minnesota’s current track athletes also compete in cross-country.

At another level, the Minnesota State High School League sponsors outdoor track but has no indoor program.

But at the college level, training depends on having both an indoor and outdoor season. Eliminating indoor competition would make it extremely difficult to prepare for the outdoor season, sophomore distance runner Eli Hoeft said.

“To get those good hard workouts and races in, being in Minnesota, it’s hard to find good opportunities to get fit and really get in good shape unless it’s indoor track and field,” Hoeft said. “There is a ton of value that having an indoor brings.”

Hoeft, who couldn’t compete in his first indoor season last year because of pandemic cancellations, said several teammates entered the transfer portal in the past month.

The former 1,600-meter state champion at Hopkins hasn’t decided yet on his future, but he said he’s fortunate to have cross-country to compete in, along with outdoor

Bold predictions for Week 6 of the college football season

Surprise performances and unexpected outcomes are anticipated each weekend in the wild world of college football. Even if everyone knows they are coming, guessing when and where they will happen is difficult. 

Amway Coaches Poll: Alabama’s Mac Jones has been on point

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

The USA TODAY Sports college football staff — Jace Evans, Paul Myerberg, Brent Schrotenboer, Erick Smith, Eddie Timanus and Dan Wolken — weigh in with some bold predictions for Week 6 of the college football season:

Jace Evans

From NFL plays to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day.

Nick Saban will be extremely annoyed Saturday night. This is probably true most weekends his Alabama Crimson Tide play, but it will be especially true after the matchup with a Mississippi team now led by former assistant Lane Kiffin. Saban has never lost to one of his former assistants, moving to 20-0 after last weekend’s win over Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M, and that doesn’t figure to change against a Rebels team that doesn’t seem especially good on defense. But the early stages of the Kiffin era have shown that Ole Miss can put some points on the board and, because he’s Kiffin, the ex-Alabama OC is sure to have a few tricks up his sleeve for this contest. Alabama will win but it might cede more yards and points than we’re used to, which – combined with who would be responsible for that – is sure to leave Saban fuming at his postgame press conference.



a football player running on a baseball field: Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is sacked by Oklahoma's Kenneth Murray and Jon-Michael Terry during the first half of their 2019 game at the Cotton Bowl.


© Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is sacked by Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray and Jon-Michael Terry during the first half of their 2019 game at the Cotton Bowl.

IMPACT GAMES: Clemson-Miami tops list of biggest matchups in Week 6

ANSWERS NEEDED: Miami, Tennessee lead Week 6’s biggest questions

STAFF PICKS: Predictions for Clemson-Miami and all other Top 26 games

Paul Myerberg

Florida joins Alabama in handing Texas A&M a lopsided loss against a top-ranked conference opponent. In doing so, the Gators add to the scrutiny on Fisher as questions mount over how much progress the program has made during his three seasons. Maybe the questions are unfair in one respect: A&M is still building a roster with the depth and experience to contend for the playoff. But this is Florida coach Dan Mullen’s third season, too. Unlike the Aggies, the Gators have been rolling.

Gallery: The biggest flaw of every top 25 college football team (Yardbarker)

Brent Schrotenboer

The Red River rivalry has been reduced to this: Two teams outside the Top 20, both coming off losses, but with two quarterbacks that rank in the top 10 in pass efficiency and passing yards per game: Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler and Texas’ Sam Ehlinger. Who’s better? It depends on who’s hungrier. Oklahoma is 0-2 in league play for the first time this millennium, since before coach Bob Stoops arrived in 1999 to return the program to glory. This time the bet