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NC State West Virginia Football

West Virginia defensive lineman Dante Stills (55) sacks North Carolina State quarterback Matthew McKay (7) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)

West Virginia is a small state with no professional teams. We love college athletics in our state, particularly football and men’s basketball.

While fans here miss baseball and the NBA playoffs, we can live without it. But don’t mess with our college football.

It’s looking more and more as if we will have college football this fall. There might, however, be some differences this season. Here are some things that might be different.

n Coaching hot seats: Usually there is great pressure on football coaches to win. That will never change, but there might be more patience this year. Coaches are in uncharted waters as they work through the restrictions of the pandemic.

I talk with coaches on the phone on a frequent basis. As you try to set up a regular time to call, it’s difficult to do. The normal coaches’ schedules are unknown right now. Coaches are making scheduling adjustments on the fly and nothing is certain. There is much more unknown than usual.

When the pandemic shut down the college basketball season, it might have saved the jobs of several of the nation’s college basketball coaches. Athletic directors had more to worry about than making a coaching change.

The climate could be different this fall in college football. Teams might lose the services of key players the week of a key game. Would it be Dabo Swinney’s fault if Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence tests positive for the virus in the week of the North Carolina game? Certainly not. There might be a little more grace extended to coaches this season.

n Gambling: I don’t gamble, but I know that many of you do. Sports gambling is a huge industry. For many fans, fantasy football and gambling adds more fun and excitement to your football weekend. How will the gambling industry be affected by the pandemic? How does Las Vegas possibly do a point spread if the offensive line room at a school is quarantined?

n Broadcasts: I’ve been involved with broadcasting college football for almost 50 years, since the since the fall of 1973. These are strange times in sports play-by-play. You may have seen this week where, if Major League Baseball is played, the teams broadcast crews will not travel. Announcers will broadcast road games without traveling. (Marty Brennaman got out at the right time).

What if that trend continues with college football? It may not be likely, but with travel party limitations, it could happen. It is already being done in NASCAR, soccer and other sports. I hate to admit it, but we are seeing that on-site broadcasters are not “essential.”

n Tailgating: Let’s face it, tailgating is almost as much a part of college football as the game itself. At some places, there are as many fans in the tailgate lots as there are inside the stadium. How will social distancing restrictions impact tailgating? Will fans be allowed to have tailgate parties? No one knows.

Contact Frank Giardina at