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Expand chart
Data: The New York Times; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios Visuals

College football kicks off Saturday, as the sport begins a second season in the midst of a global pandemic.

The state of play: Much like last year, teams, students and fans face varying realities. Some stadiums will require proof of vaccination, some will require masks and others will require neither.

Yes, but: While the pandemic hovers over this fall much like the last, the upcoming season will look more like 2019 than 2020, with most schools welcoming full crowds and encouraging tailgating.

The big picture: Late August is always a special time in America. Summer is winding down, school is starting back up, football is kicking off and fall is just around the corner.

  • For the second straight year, those late summer vibes feel slightly off, to say the least.
  • But football remains a constant in our lives, marking the time as it has for decades.

Schedule: There are just five games on Saturday, with the real action starting next week. The most notable matchup, and the only conference game, is Nebraska vs. Illinois.

  • 1 p.m. ET: Nebraska (-7) at Illinois (Fox)
  • 2 p.m.: UConn (+27.5) at Fresno State (CBSSN)
  • 3:30 p.m.: Hawaii (+17.5) at UCLA (ESPN)
  • 9:30 p.m.: UTEP (-10) at New Mexico State
  • 10 p.m.: Southern Utah (+24) vs. San Jose State (CBSSN)

Go deeper: EA exploring putting college athletes in video games

Go deeper

Dec 1, 2021 - Sports

November was brutal for NFL bettors

15.5-point underdog Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Buffalo Bills in Week 10. Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The most unpredictable NFL season in recent memory is costing bettors at a historic clip.

Driving the news: November was among the worst months ever for the betting public thanks to underdogs covering the spread nearly 60% of the time and winning 23 games outright.

Why 401(k) rollovers are so annoying

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you happened to change jobs recently, you may have tried to transfer your retirement account from your former employer into an Individual Retirement Account or your new employer's 401(k) plan. If so, you probably encountered a bureaucratic gantlet — and you're not alone.

Why it matters: Kludgey processes around retirement account transfers result in people losing track of their funds, giving up important tax advantages, or otherwise disadvantaging themselves and being less prepared for retirement.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.