This much we know: the North Dakota State at University of Oregon football game is scheduled for Sept. 5. The Bison are set to board their usual Delta Airlines charter sometime Friday afternoon before for the usual road routine.
College football teams love a routine. Surprises are evil. The Bison like to do their Friday walkthrough practice at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome, board a couple of buses for the few minutes drive to Hector International and fly wherever.
Boarding time depends on the length of flight; the longer the trip, the earlier the takeoff.
Of course, routine has been thrown to hungry wolves since March due to the coronavirus pandemic and it’s anybody’s educated guess what will happen this fall. But for this game, this one that matches an FCS power vs. an FBS power, there is hope in Lane County.
That is the county home to Eugene, Ore., which is home to the Ducks.
So far, the number of positives to the COVID-19 test since this episode started in March are about equal to the number of players, coaches and staff of a football team. In other words, not much.
Let’s hope Oregon students are not congregating in hot, sweaty bars late at night dancing to the latest college hits.
As of Tuesday morning, Lane County had just 145 confirmed cases and three deaths to COVID-19. And consider the county has a population of 382,067, which is more than double the population of our Cass County’s 181,923.
Cass, meanwhile, has had 2,233 confirmed cases and 66 deaths as of Tuesday. So if you’re looking for optimistic news the Bison and Ducks will play on Sept. 5, look no further than comparing counties.
If we consider ourselves relatively safe from the virus, Lane County is multiple times safer.
So far, COVID-19 has affected .0004% of the Lane population. The affliction rate of Cass is 0.01%.
For the sake of watching Trey Lance, Christian Watson and Dillon Radunz try their hand on a big Pac-12 Conference stage, let’s hope those numbers don’t change.
So far, the state of North Dakota has been making all the right moves in regards to the coronavirus. With a total population of 762,000, there was no need to completely shut everything down with the exception of congregating spots like bars and restaurants.
Business seems to be slowly coming back all the while the number of positive tests remains manageable. That will be the key moving forward as the college football season approaches.
The question everybody has, naturally, is will the show go on? Will fans be allowed? If so, how many? Will there be tailgating?
NDSU is maintaining a stance of no changes and until you hear differently, assume there will be six home games in September through November. Filling Gate City Bank Field may very well come down to consumer choice.
Do you feel comfortable going to the game? Then go. Wear a mask, but go.
Do you have an underlying health condition that puts you at further risk? Then don’t go.
It may sound too simple considering all the voices that potentially could alter college football. It’s still possible the NCAA, the state of North Dakota and the university could have a say in it.
NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen said Tuesday he doesn’t know 100% yet who will make the call.
“I would envision all of those groups having a say at some level,” he said.
If things don’t change and the state remains at a green (low) level of risk, let the consumer decide. It’s your team. It’s your health. It’s your choice.