When I added the tagline "The Cadence of Gameday" to 80 Minutes of Regulation, the double entendre was intentional. As a bandsman generally, and a drummer specifically, I know that the cadence is the drumbeat that gets us going and keeps us going through the day's marching. But the cadence is also the pace of gameday in its entirety: While it was the pairing of marching band and sports that breathed life into this site, it soon expanded to include all of gameday, from the tailgate lot before hand, to the pregame, the game, halftime, the fifth quarter, the victory shakos after a win, all of it.
This year, the cadence is deceptive.
Like so many other things in the Year of our Lord Two Thousand Twenty, the cadence of gameday just doesn't hit as it ought to. Tailgates are nonexistent at stadiums that are only a fraction full. Bands are all but sneaking into the stadiums to avoid any situation that may draw an unwanted crowd. And once they're there, they don't get to take the field, performing socially distanced in the stands, sometimes in platoons composed of only a portion of the band.
This week is typically the valley between rivalry week and conference championship games, and even that looks different. With the end of the season still weeks away, some traditional rivalries have moved as well, while conference-only schedules have kept others from occurring at all. The College Football Playoff committee just released its third rankings, going through the unenviable task of comparing teams with uneven games played and next to no intersectional competition as a basis for comparison.
The bowls are empowered to do as they please, with no minimum win or records standards because, hell, it's 2020. 37 remain, down slightly from last year, and they will likely play to mostly empty stadiums without bands present. The annual Band on the Road series was cancelled this year for obvious reasons, and the same will certainly be true of #bowlbands, save perhaps for the cases where a team is playing a home game in a bowl. We'll make it to the finish line of this year, even crown a champion, but the entire season's cadence has been anything but typical.
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