Legends of the fall? Stage could be set for big finish to 2020

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Ricky Dimon

NBA

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there is a realistic chance sports do not return in 2020. But we’ve been in the business of bad news for a full week now and—at least temporarily—it’s time to turn the page. Some positivity is needed.

So for the sake of encouraging hypotheticals, let’s talk about the glory that could be sports in the United States this fall.

If the NFL and college football manage to start on schedule, those will once again entertain us from September through the end of the year. As always, Major League Baseball playoffs will be on the October menu if the season can get underway sometime around its current projection of mid-May. It is a Ryder Cup year in golf, and contrary to some reports that team competition is still scheduled for September 25-27. If you consider “fall” after kids go back to school, then also throw tennis’ U.S. Open into the autumn mix.

Now this is where things could get crazy.

On the PGA Tour, the Masters has obviously been postponed from its early April dates. Based on how the golf calendar looks in addition to a suspicious mass of hotel bookings in Augusta, Ga., rumor has it that the Masters will be rescheduled for Oct. 8-11 (odds are still on the table and Rory McIlroy is a +650 favorite).

As for professional tennis, the French Open—the second major of the season—has already been moved from late May and early June to late September and early August. In fact, as scheduled at present the Roland Garros festivities would begin exactly one week after the end of the U.S. Open. That’s right; in the span of five weeks, four could involve Grand Slam tennis.

Those events may have to compete with not one major sport, not two major sports, not three major sports, but all for major American sports. Football and baseball would be ongoing, like always. The NBA could also crash the fall party if it starts up again—ideally in mid-June. If for some reason the league decides to finish out the regular season prior to the playoffs (not likely), the NBA Finals might not conclude until September. In fact, even if the regular season is abandoned a September finish appears possible if not even probable. The league-leading Milwaukee Bucks are +200 title favorites.

The NHL is in a similar boat. Its players issued a proposal in which a mini-training camp would be held in early July, the regular season would wrap up by the end of the month, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs would take place in August and September.

Heck, we are even on pace to have a fall Kentucky Derby. Yes, the Run for the Roses has been shifted from May 2 to Sept. 5. While Rafael Nadal is a -110 favorite to win the French Open, Nadal the horse is +1000 to triumph at Churchill Downs.

To recap, this is what things could look like this fall in a new perfectly imperfect world:

NFL regular season: September through December
College football regular season and bowl games: September through December
NBA playoffs: August and September
NHL playoffs: August and September
U.S. Open tennis: August and September
French Open: September and October
Ryder Cup: September
The Masters: October
Kentucky Derby: September
The Preakness: September
The Belmont Stakes: September or October

Get your popcorn ready!

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