In surreal 2020, Vandy and Tennessee are excited – and anxious – to kick off season
By TOM WOOD / September 24, 2020
As the great Hank Williams Jr., sang, “Are you ready for some football?” That question has never been more appropriate than in 2020, a year that has been strange and sometimes strained by the deadly global pandemic Coronavirus which has affected every facet of life, including pro and college sports.
The Southeastern Conference revamped its schedule, cutting back from 12 games to a 10-game, conference-only format. Season kickoffs were delayed from late August to September 26 — a date that, for better or worse, is just around the corner. I recently talked with Vanderbilt coaches and players about their hopes and dreams for the coming season for the Nashville Ledger, and Rhiannon Potkey did similar interviews with UT for Knoxville’s Tennessee Ledger.
“(SEC football is) some of the best football in the country,” coach Derek Mason says.
–Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics
You will find both season preview stories online on Thursday, Sept. 24, and in the Sept. 25-Oct. 1 print editions of the Ledger. Last month, I took a look at what a fall without Tennessee football might have on Knoxville in the July 31-August 6 edition of the Ledger. While those Knoxville businesses have felt the impact of a September without Vol football, here’s hoping the rest of the year will be brighter.
In talking with government and media members, looking to determine both the economic and emotional impact on, the one word that many used to describe such a scenario was “devastating.”
“Honestly, it would be devastating to the economy for fall football not to happen in some fashion,” said Helen O’Connor Morton, who owns University Liquors with her husband and son and is one of the leaders of the Cumberland Avenue Merchants Association.
Chuck Cavalaris, a former Knoxville sportswriter who is now a realtor and a sports commentator on the Sports Source on WATE-TV, is holding his breath as the University and the Southeastern Conference try to decide on the best course of action. A conference-only schedule makes the most sense to Cavalaris.
“My hope is, instead of no college football in 2020, make it just conference only and maybe one out-of-conference game if it makes sense. And if we’re looking at starting in early October, then I think we can get through this. But it would really be devastating to me if you say there’s no college football in 2020,” says Cavalaris.
SCREENWRITING NEWS: It has been a good month for ‘A Night on the Town’ and ‘Death Takes a Holliday’ scripts:
On another subject, I have some great news two screenplays that are doing well in contests. The first is the crime drama ‘A Night on the Town’ which I co-wrote with Mike Tucker. It is a finalist in the Peachtree Village International Film Festival and a semifinalist in the Southeastern International Film Festival. And my Western horror-fantasy is currently a semifinalist in the WeScreenplay shorts contest.
The competion results will be determined the final week of October. You can attend all of these virtual events and participate in roundtables, listen to table reads of scripts, watch the film finalists and much more. And The PVIFF has opened up competitions to audience votes. So give ours a listen and we’d be honored to receive your vote.
As always, thanks for reading.