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ESPN’s Orlando Bubble May (Did) Collapse But The Championship Classic Looks Safe

But the Championship Classic with Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and Kansas is expected to happen

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Michigan State
Dec 3, 2019; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo and Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski shake hands at mid court during the second half of a game at Breslin Center.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Update - it’s off.

After the NBA successfully pulled off the Orlando bubble with remarkable success, the general assumption was that, why college basketball can do the same thing! The NBA has proven it can work! Bubbles rock!

Well not so fast.

As always, there are multiple forces at work in college basketball that the NBA doesn’t have to deal with. For a short list, start with the fiefdoms that are revenue producing college sports programs, different standards and requirements of the individual conferences, Covid-19 and potential legal issues.

And there’s also Disney, and the Mouse of course and understandably, doesn’t want to face any liability issues either.

From what’s reported in the linked article, it looks like the Championship Classic, featuring Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and Kansas, won’t be affected which is great. That’s turned into a tremendous kick-off to the season.

The rest of it though looks like a giant mess and will probably play havoc with scheduling. On the one hand, with minimal fans there’s a lot more flexibility. Even so, the season is just about to start and major revisions to schedules this late is unprecedented and a real nightmare for people who have to put them together.

What we’d like to see happen is more local games happen where travel is minimized. NCCU, for instance, could easily play the Big Four ACC schools and probably on short notice. For that matter, league teams could schedule each other in non-conference games which would be a blast.

You could also see extra rivalry games between schools like Stanford vs. Cal, Virginia vs. Virginia Tech, UCLA vs. USC, Cincinnati vs. Xavier and even Duke vs. UNC.

We realize that this would be unpopular with some people, starting with coaches, but for ESPN? They could schedule an extra Rivalry Week and make an absolute killing, probably more than they could make in Orlando. Bonus: the schools would save a ton of money and the players could, in most cases, sleep in their own beds.

Double bonus: other than ESPN’s typical role, Disney wouldn't have to be involved.