Many FCS football teams are playing their 2020-21 seasons this spring, after COVID-19 forced the postponement from the fall. The division will return to the fall schedule later this year. Illinois State was among the prominent teams trying to pull off the two-seasons-in-one-year situation, but opted to cancel the remainder of the season after injuries decimated the team’s depth at certain spots, including the defensive line. That decision is now getting blasted by another prominent FCS head coach, Missouri State’s Bobby Petrino.
The two teams were supposed to open their seasons against one another on Saturday, Feb. 20 at Missouri State. Three days prior to the game, it was postponed to April due to a winter storm hitting the area, that left the field covered in snow and ice. Missouri State claimed that it was not able to ready the field for the game, but just days later, the school’s men’s soccer team was practicing at the soccer stadium, which was presumably in the same shape as the football program’s Plaster Stadium.
“I really don’t know what to believe right now,” ISU coach Brock Spack said after the postponement, saying that his school offered to host the game that weekend, which was rejected by Missouri State, which didn’t want to lose a home game. “I don’t get it. That soccer field looked plenty fine for me. I’m not buying it. There should have been a game this weekend. This is about the integrity of football and the integrity of the Missouri Valley. It’s really a bad look.”
The Redbirds wound up opening the season a week later, with a 27-20 loss to South Dakota. After a 1-3 start to the season, Spack made the decision to end the spring season prematurely. “I have wrestled with this decision for a couple weeks now, but I feel like it’s a necessary move to protect our player’s health and safety and their ability to be ready come this fall,” he said. “Injuries at key positions, especially on the defensive line where we suffered two more setbacks yesterday, have made it nearly impossible for us to play this week and extremely difficult for us to compete in the remaining four games.”
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The decision means that Missouri State won’t get to play what was now supposed to be the season finale against ISU. Bobby Petrino, the infamous former coach at Louisville and Arkansas as well as the Atlanta Falcons, is not at all happy with how things have transpired.
He said that Spack may owe Missouri State an apology after potentially inferring that Missouri State’s original call to postpone the game due to weather wasn’t necessary, or was about something else.
“I don’t know what’s going on there and why they did it,” Petrino said. “I don’t have any comment on them opting out or the reasons for it.
“Maybe their coach owes Missouri State an apology for the fact that we couldn’t play a game because of snow and ice and that he tried to pop off that we had some other underlying reasons — which is totally wrong. Other than that, I don’t have anything to say about them.”
Bobby Petrino is far from the most popular coach in college football, and doesn’t seem to be helping matters during his first year at the FCS level.
After going 0-3 in a shortened fall season, the Missouri State Bears are 3-1 this spring.