I like the 2020 football leagues for Central Coast teams that are in the CIF Central Section.
As opposed to 2019, when there were three leagues consisting of four teams each, there will be two leagues, consisting of six teams each, in 2020.
The Mountain League will consist of two-time league champ St. Joseph, Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, Righetti, San Luis Obispo and Templeton. The Ocean League will consist of Mission Prep, Morro Bay, Santa Maria, Nipomo, Pioneer Valley and Atascadero.
I have written in this space before that I thought three league games were too few. Under the 2019 way, teams played a non-league schedule 70 percent of the time. That is just too much.
This way, with 50 percent of teams' games being league ones, much more emphasis is put on league games. That is as it should be.
Besides, I didn't even think of the October non-league scheduling headaches some schools dealt with before some area coaches pointed that out recently. The new format eliminates those headaches.
Actually, I think a 70-percent league schedule is optimal. But I realize that, with the amount of local teams that we have, a 50 percent league games schedule is as good as it gets around here.
I think it's fair that San Luis Obispo and Templeton will be the teams moving up from smaller leagues to the larger Mountain League. San Luis Obispo won the PAC 4 championship in 2019. Templeton took the Ocean League title that year.
I also like the plan that moves the top team from the Ocean League to the Mountain League and the bottom team from Mountain League to the Ocean League for 2021. That's a solid plan, and I hope the powers-that-be stick to that plan for future years.
The new format is also good for natural rivalries. The Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley and Nipomo-Santa Maria league rivalries will be restored, as will the Arroyo Grande-San Luis Obispo league rivalry.
Of course, that is providing the 2020 football season even takes place. The future of all sports in the country is in flux because of COVID-19, the coronavirus.
We have a role to play when it comes to influencing how quickly things can get back to normal, in athletics and everything else.
I have read opinions in the Times implying that what is taking place in the U.S. is a panic, not a pandemic. I'm sorry, that kind of reasoning is off the mark. I really wish it wasn't. But it is.
Yes, the number of COVID-19 deaths, though obviously one fatality is one too many, have been low in this country. So far. The early COVID-19 death numbers in Italy were low too. It is common knowledge as to what happened subsequently, and quickly. The virus knocked Italy flat.
Besides, the news in this country has been more sobering by the minute. Seven members of one family in the U.S. recently contracted the virus. Four died from it.
To everyone who is not in denial, it is obvious the virus is spreading exponentially and the worst is yet to come. At present, the COVID-19 death rate in the United States stands between one and two percent. That is beyond alarming.
The sooner all of the 99-plus percent of us who do not possess medical degrees listen to and heed what those who do have to say, the more lives will be saved, the better off we all will be and the sooner we can get back to normal.
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