What won’t change for college football in 2020?

Thankfully, the game as we know it won’t change much, but the atmosphere around college football this fall will drastically change. Most SEC stadiums will have 20-25% capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic, while others in different parts of the country will have no fans. The Big Ten and Pac-12, as of now, won’t even attempt to play this fall due to the “uncertainty” of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the ACC and Big 12 open play this week and the SEC keeps marching toward kickoff on Sept. 26.

Let’s take a look at the rule changes for the 2020 season, which can be broken down to initial changes and COVID-19 forced changes.

Initial rules changes

Targeting: The targeting rule won’t change in 2020; however, now, if a player gets ejected for targeting, he won’t have to leave his team on the sidelines and go back into the locker room. He’ll get to stay on the sidelines during the game.

Jersey numbers: In previous seasons, there were no limits to how many players could wear the same number. Now, it’s limited to two. The bigger news here is that players can now wear the No. 0.

Instant replay: The NCAA wants to limit replay reviews to 2 minutes; however, in complicated situations, it may extend the 2-minute rule. Also, if time expires but replay shows that time should be added back to the clock, there must be 3 seconds remaining to restore time on the clock. Sure, you can call it the Kick-6 rule.

Pregame warmups: Officials will now have jurisdiction 90 minutes before kickoff. That was previously 60 minutes, and it’s an attempt to tone down the pregame jawing from players. Also, players must have uniforms on with jersey numbers visible during this time in order to be on the field. Dan Mullen isn’t happy about this one at all.

Rules changes due to COVID-19

Team area on sidelines: Social distancing will be enforced on the sidelines, as the team area will expand from 25-yard-line to 25-yard-line to 15-yard-line to 15-yard-line. That’ll give players 70 yards total in the team area. Coaches are encouraged to stay out of the restricted area and remain in the coaching box.

Pregame coin toss: For 2020, only 1 captain from each team and the umpire will attend the pregame coin toss.

Medical masks: Medical masks made of cloth can now be attached to facemasks, but the masks must be the color of the team and can have a team logo.

Uniform patches: For the 2020-21 seasons, players can now have a voice in expressing support for social justice with a commemorative patch on the front or the sleeve of the uniform.

Officials whistle: Traditional whistles won’t be allowed due to health concerns. Officials will now be required to use an electronic whistle.