On Tuesday morning, Alabama head coach Nick Saban voiced skepticism regarding the quality of a spring football season due to the anticipated departure of NFL-ready prospects across college football.
"I think one of the real consequences of this is, if you're a junior or a senior and you have an NFL grade, are you going to play in the spring? Or is that going to become sort of a JV season with a lot of these juniors and seniors opting out?"
The Crimson Tide have long been a traditional power in the SEC, and on Monday, Alabama released its 10-game conference-only fall football schedule.
But the toughest challenge Alabama will face this season won't be a specific opponent, according to Saban.
"The biggest opponent that we have this year is going to be (coronavirus). Because if we can't get people to have the personal discipline to manage their personal bubble in a way that they can stay safe, which I think is very possible, then we're going to have guys testing positive, guys in quarantine, and this is going to create issues on any team."
A number of notable players, with their sights set on the NFL, have already opted to forgo the fall season due to coronavirus concerns, and that number continues to grow with the possibility of a spring season, considering the proximity of the season to the April 29 NFL Draft.
On Monday, defending national champion LSU saw its second player announce his plans to skip the season.
However, Saban is confident that the SEC, and his program in particular, have the necessary protocols in place to proceed safely with fall ball.
"Our medical experts here thought that we could try to do this, create a safe environment, and see if we can play. And I think they've done a wonderful job of that."
Saban declined to comment on whether any of his athletes will skip the season, deciding to keep that information exclusive to his team.