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COVID conundrum: How worried should we be about any PSU football games being canceled?

Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst has tested positive for the virus, and the Badgers' game this week against Nebraska has been canceled.

It’s not about being an alarmist. It’s about being a realist.

The chances of Penn State having a football game canceled this season have always been high.

Maybe we haven’t wanted to think about that because this year has sucked enough already. But everyone has been in a sort of denial mode about the strong possibility that college football will be interrupted by the coronavirus.

Well, it was interrupted Wednesday for Wisconsin, which had 12 members of the football team test positive — six players and six members of the coaching staff, including head coach Paul Chryst.

So, Wisconsin’s game this week against Nebraska will be canceled.

It will not be the last Big Ten game canceled because of COVID.

Nobody wants to hear that.

Nobody wants to think about the possibility that the Big Ten just might have been right about postponing the season when it did.

All everyone wanted to do was rip the Big Ten, because the rest of the country was going ahead and playing football.

We finally have football in the Big Ten, and this week is an enormous game between Penn State and Ohio State.

It’s also the last game PSU will play in October.

When the calendar rolls around to November, I believe this country is going to be in trouble.

No, COVID will not just magically disappear the day after the election, as you may have heard someone say.

This virus is going to get worse in the late fall and winter.

I am very, very concerned about college basketball season. That’s my favorite sport, and we’ve already had to lose the NCAA Tournament this season.

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It’s not a matter of if the virus starts spreading like crazy again. It’s a matter of when during the colder months.

Penn State has been reporting its weekly results of positive tests, and for the last three weeks, the number of positives was below five in the athletic department.

Wednesday, PSU reported 13 positive results out of 1,304 tests, with three more tests pending.

Now, that’s still not a terribly high number. But it is an increase, and we can expect to see more increases at Penn State and across the country.

What number should we start getting worried about? When could that number — either at PSU or at an opposing school — be high enough that it will lead to a football game getting canceled.

Or, heaven forbid, many football games — even the rest of the season.

I truly, truly hope we do not get to that point.

Please, let us not get to that point — for the sake of student-athletes playing across the country, and also for our country itself, which needs to slow this virus any way we can this winter.

But in all honesty, there might not be much we can do at this point to avoid that reality.

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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