Football

Blackwell: One game at a time…

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Being the child of a sports psychopath, my son’s first words were not “dad” or “mom.” His first words were, “we are just going to take it one game at a time” because that’s what always needs to be said.

Especially in 2020.

So here we are, game week. Who knows what the next three months will hold? Do you? Does anyone? No.

One thing we do know, however, is that as of now the “one game at a time” mantra is specifically this Saturday in Austin at 7 p.m. when UTEP arrives to face the Longhorns. What happens after that is anybody and everybody’s guess. And that’s exactly what it is – a guess.

The Big 12 has done a commendable job of sprinkling in the bye weeks to try and survive the Covid-19 world and get to the end of the season, but despite that effort on the front end of the football season, three games involving Big 12 schools have already been altered because of the virus.

The NFL and the NBA have successfully managed (so far) to navigate the waters of Covid-19 and the Big 12 would be wise to follow suit. College football has already happened across the country, and successfully so.

The Longhorns have done a great job (again, so far) of juggling a policy that allows the players to live in the “real world” while also maintaining a football community that is at least partially bubble-like.

But Louisiana Tech provides a case in point with just how “one game at a time” this season is: the Bulldogs had handled the virus well, and then rightfully allowed their players to tend to their families when a hurricane hit the Gulf Coast. Sure enough, an outbreak of the virus ensued, and the team’s game with Baylor was postponed.

Truly what is here today could very well be gone tomorrow.

As for the game itself, obviously the Longhorns should win handily. One glance at the 43-point Las Vegas spread will attest to that. But Saturday’s game will be most interesting not for what will take place on the field, but with what “game day” will look like, sound like and be like. At no point when Sam Ehlinger dreamed as a child that he would be the Texas quarterback did it ever occur to him that his senior season would be what he and we will see on Saturday. It is indeed a brand new world, for worse or for better.

So there will be football Saturday night on the Texas campus. Beyond Saturday night is unknown.

Therefore and henceforth, we will be taking them one game at a time.