Over the course of the day Wednesday, the American Athletic Conference lost three out of conference games, due to COVID-19. The first game lost, was Houston vs North Texas. It was quickly followed by the loss of Tulsa against Arkansas State. Then, a little bit later, USF and FAU had to cancel their game.
Houston headlines the group, largely because of the hard luck they’ve had in regards to cancellations this season. In total, they’ve already had five games cancelled, including three games in the last two weeks.
After a frustrating week, where the Cougars had to postpone a conference game with Memphis, and then made it all the way to Waco before Baylor informed them that the game wouldn’t be possible. Today, Houston made it clear that they felt North Texas handled it better than Baylor, through “a consistent dialogue” between the two universities.
Houston statement on cancellation of Saturday’s North Texas game pic.twitter.com/36ZemKv44g— Joseph Duarte (@Joseph_Duarte) September 23, 2020
Tulsa has had issues of its own as they relate to COVID-19. They lost practice time, and had to postpone their season opener with Oklahoma State. That seemed to go off without a hitch (other than Philip Montgomery’s clock management). Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Arkansas State, who is not able to have a two-deep at every position group. Without that, it’s not safe to play.
Then, USF had to cancel their game with FAU. It is a little less clear which program is at fault in this case. USF just played Notre Dame, who was dealing with an outbreak before the game. Though no players who tested positive played in the game, Notre Dame did need to postpone next Saturday’s game with Wake Forest due to contract tracing taking out too much of their team. Add in the fact that FAU just had their game with Georgia Southern cancelled, because of the amount of positive tests on their own team. So, while USF says they’re not dealing with an outbreak, the surrounding circumstances made the game very risky, if not impossible.
The good and bad thing about all of these games is that they’re out of conference match-ups. So, while you’d rather not lose any games due to positive tests, at least these games don’t desperately need to be made up on the schedule.
Conference commissioner, Mike Aresco, said, “The non-conference games have been a bit of a problem, probably a little more of problem than we anticipated. We’ll get through it. The conference games are more important, we’ve always known that. We want to get 8 conference games in if we can.”
So, hopefully these problems go away once the AAC gets into the more controlled environment of conference play. For the time being though, you have to feel bad for the players losing out on games, especially the Houston players.
Next up on the schedule for Houston is a home game against Tulane. Meanwhile, Tulsa will serve as UCF’s home opener next, and USF has to travel to Cincinnati.