clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A fall unlike any other: thoughts on Big Ten football during COVID-19

It’s strange that there’s football going on but not for the Big Ten. Honesty, it’s for the best.

My wife and I were up in Evanston and I grabbed a shot of Ryan Field this summer

Last season seems like a lifetime ago. Northwestern was coming off of division championship, and there was cautious optimism in the air. I attended a few football games between taking a two game break for getting married and my honeymoon in Italy. Northwestern stunk almost as bad as Buttgers, Ohio State was outstanding, Michigan was just another team in the east, Scott Frost was in way over his head, and my god the possibly of 9Windiana was good fun to watch. The Vile gopher menace was not.

Minnesota vs Northwestern last fall. Sadly they took home the prestigious Lutefisk-Malört trophy of Strong Dislike

Last fall I took the train down to work, every day 30-40 minute ride on Chicago’s red line each way and walking through the pedmall under Block 37. I got excited when I saw a Krispy Kreme store going in. I enjoyed eating out for lunch from time to time, standing in line with people at my favorite Chipotle, or going to other places

This is what the Loop looks like now. My work Chipotle is nearby

I enjoyed my commute, being near my fellow Chicagoans on the train mondays through fridays and sometimes taking the red line up to Evanston on Saturday. I’m a social person and I like the change of scenery.

One of my favorite places!

On most fall Saturdays, except the ones when I was busy getting married and my honeymoon, I enjoyed drinking beer in the West lots or golf course before the game, cheering on the ‘Cats with my family and nearby fellow season ticket holders I’ve gotten to know over almost 20 years of cheering on this crazy team.

I enjoyed sitting in close proximity to the visiting fans and talking to them, asking them what they think of the Big Ten’s most intimate stadium, Chicago and Evanston in general. Sometimes they’d curse at the inadequacies of Ryan Field, sometimes not. I really got a pile of complaints about the close quarters in the concourses and the bathrooms. In the end, my family and I would go home, and the visiting fans would head back to wherever it is they go.

From 2018. I’m gonna hop on the brown line at Armitage!

So most major college football started today. I don’t care a bit about Iowa State football, but I watched some of the game today. I’m dog watching this weekend, and when i was walking the dog around today I was thinking it’s damn fine football weather, and I wish I were in Evanston now, watching the Cats. I might put on another game as I’m writing this article on Saturday night, I might not.

I wish that I was getting messages from Big Red Twice and MNWildcat on Slack, imploring your favorite writing staff to vote in big ten power polls, predict games, and then on Saturday nights express disgust at another ‘Cats loss or cheer on a victory so Go For Three could compile SMCD while I sleep.

OTE is in fine form when it’s shitposting time.
Google image search, or Giphy

Since March, when COVID turned the world upside down, I figured out the the right way to work from home, while I mourned the demise of my old routines. I miss seeing my coworkers, friends at bars, going to church, and being in the hustle and bustle of a day in Chicago’s Loop. I miss sitting with 25 to 47 thousand fans on game days in Evanston. I wish the Cats could play.

I really enjoyed Northwestern’s 2015 victory over Stanford!

But I’m glad our conference is taking a break, along with our friends on the Pacific coast. Until there’s a vaccine for this pandemic, it’s just not a good not a good idea for college kids to be on campus. I see pictures of students other schools maskless at bars and know it’s just going to lead to outbreaks. I don’t mind keeping close to home because what if I got COVID on a packed red line ride to work, was asymptomatic, and then went to a game at Ryan Field and spread it to people there? It could be fatal to older or unhealthy people.

From 2017. I’ve stood on the other side, at the Quincy street station, waiting to take the purple line north. Yeah, you’re all jam-packed in there

I think there will be covid transmitted from players to players at games this fall, despite the best efforts of the medical staff on the teams still playing. I think there will be cancelled games due to covid. Or fans getting covid despite doing everything they can.

I’m fine with waiting, so the Big Ten can enjoy a spring season.

I’m not gonna lie, I feel like a Cleveland Browns fan after Modell moved the team to Baltimore in the 90s. I have Saturdays free in the fall.

I know it’s temporary, and i’d rather be at home and healthy and without big ten football than the alternative.

I know players, parents, and a lot of businesses in college towns that make their money during football season are heartsick and hurting.

We’re all in this together. Let’s stay close to home, wear masks, and do our part to defeat this virus. We’ll get our beloved big ten athletics back then. It’s gonna get better.

Your friend,



When do you think we’ll see Big Ten football again?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Later this fall
    (72 votes)
  • 18%
    Spring 2021
    (31 votes)
  • 17%
    Fall 2021
    (28 votes)
  • 20%
    No clue
    (33 votes)
164 votes total Vote Now