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LSU, ND coaches express optimism about football season despite mounting evidence

By Jeff Fogle  ( 

July 15, 2020 10:09 PM

To hear college football coaches tell it, you’d think the coronavirus was like a scraped knee that would be fine if you rubbed a little dirt on it. 

Wednesday morning on ESPN’s “Get Up,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said, "We're going to play football this year, it just depends when we're going to play football."

Later, appearing in Baton Rouge with Vice President Mike Pence, LSU coach Ed Orgeron said, "This [coronavirus] can be handled. We need football. Football is the lifeblood of our country. We need to play. This state needs it. This country needs it."

If covid was easily handled, it would have been handled by now. The United States is among the hardest-hit countries because it hasn’t handled things effectively. And college football hot spots keep turning into virus hot spots. 

Louisiana is the sixth-worst state nationally in deaths per million citizens according to Notre Dame is in Indiana, which quietly ranks #13 out of 50 states in the same category. 

Even if it were true that young adult males were largely immune to the worst ravages of the virus, it must be acknowledged that assistant coaches and head coaches are at extreme risk. 

VSiN has periodically reported state counts in a conference-by-conference format during our month-long countdown to major sports. Here are counts of new confirmed cases Wednesday from

SEC states: Texas 12,235, Florida 10,181, Georgia 3,871, Tennessee 2,273, Louisiana 2,082, South Carolina 1,856, Alabama 1,812, Mississippi 1,025, Arkansas 564, Missouri 525.

Texas set an all-time one-day record Wednesday in what’s becoming a sustained disaster. That’s part of why you don’t hear college coaches from that state talking enthusiastically about September football. Georgia had its second-worst day ever. Mississippi did as well if you exclude a database catch-up after diagnostic work. Alabama had its third-worst day ever. 

Big 12 states: Texas 12,235, Oklahoma 1,075, Kansas 856, Iowa 438, West Virginia 150. 

Oklahoma broke 1K for the first time ever Wednesday, after just missing with 993 the day before. That’s become a trouble state, partially influenced by overflow from Texas. 

Big Ten (and Notre Dame) states: Ohio 1,311, Illinois 1,187, Michigan 1,049,  Pennsylvania 1,001, Wisconsin 821,  Maryland 756, Minnesota 572, Indiana 685, Iowa 438, New Jersey 321, Nebraska 262. 

We’ve talked recently about Ohio and Illinois both continuing to grow through the summer. In that geographic spread, only Iowa has a lower total this week than our compilation a week ago. While nothing in the Midwest is currently approaching the sun belt nightmares…some states are now tracking the early days of badly hit states. 

Pac-12 states: California 9,687, Arizona 3,257, Washington 640, Colorado 469, Utah 413, Oregon 276. 


News has been relatively quiet regarding MLB opt outs in recent days. Pitcher Joe Smith of the Houston Astros added his name to the list Wednesday. We recently took a peek at lifetime MLB earnings for players announcing opt outs. Smith isn’t a hyped superstar. But he has earned $45 million in his career, making a 60-game forfeiture of income less painful.


After some early hiccups, the “MLS is Back” tournament continues to move along at a brisk pace. Three more games on tap Thursday. Listed starting times are Eastern. Another early kickoff Thursday to avoid the worst heat of a Florida day. 

Atlanta vs. Cincinnati (ESPN, 9 a.m.)

Three-way: Atlanta -189, Cincinnati plus 440, draw plus 340

Goal Line: Atlanta -1 goal (-115), Cincinnati plus 1 goal (-115)

Over/Under: 2.75 goals (Over -118, Under -104) 

Toronto vs. Montreal (FS1, 8 p.m.)

Three-way: Toronto -105, Montreal plus 250, draw plus 271

Goal Line: Toronto -0.5 goals (-105), Montreal plus 0.5 goals (-122)

Over/Under: 2.75 goals (Over -111, Under -110) 

Columbus vs. New York Red Bulls (FS1, 10:30 p.m.)

Three-way: Columbus plus 134, New York plus 179, draw plus 255

Goal Line: Columbus -0.25 goals (plus 105), New York plus 0.25 goals (-128)

Over/Under: 2.75 goals (Over -102, Under -119) 

Toronto/Montreal is in Group C. Those standings entering today: New England 1-0-0, Toronto 0-0-1, D.C. United 0-0-1, Montreal 0-1-0.

The other two games are in Group E. Those standings: Columbus 1-0-0, New York 1-0-0, Atlanta 0-1-0, Cincinnati 0-1-0. 

Others Stories of Interest

*Northern Illinois AD makes push for spring football (Chicago Tribune)

*NFL Players Union has leverage in negotiations (NY Daily News)

*MLB Players Union may hire famed lawyer to file grievance (NY Post)

*Hospitals in host city of WNBA bubble reach max capacity ( 

*Open letter from Elena Delle Donne about her health (Players Tribune)

*Are league testing protocols impacting pandemic fight (Yahoo)

*CDC Director says fall and winter will be difficult (Poynter)

VSiN Clips/Tweets on Betting Restarts

*Danny Burke talks to Jeff Erickson about MLB team head-to-head win props (A Numbers Game)

*Michael Lombardi likes the Chiefs to go Over their win total (Lombardi Line)

*JVT analyzes the New Orleans Pelicans’ defense (The Edge)

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