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NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Quarantine Questions: Why aren’t the Buccaneers playing the Dolphins in the 2020 preseason?

For just the third time since 2000, the Bucs’ preseason schedule doesn’t feature a matchup against the Miami Dolphins. Why?

Hi. These are strange times we’re living in. And despite the fact that some aspects of life are beginning to go back to “normal,” many are still in quarantine to stay as safe as possible. That includes yours truly. And things get boring when you’re quarantining, especially with no live sports on TV. So, my mind often wonders, and a lot of my random thoughts concern the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “Quarantine Questions” is a new series that allows us to think about these musings out loud.

Quarantine Question #1: Why is there no Bucs-Dolphins matchup on the 2020 preseason schedule?

By now, you’ve probably taken several in-depth looks at the Buccaneers’ 2020 regular season schedule. There’s a ton of anticipation for the upcoming season in Tampa Bay, especially amid all of the craziness we’ve found ourselves in to this point in the calendar year. The fact that the regular season schedule is so full of exciting matchups for Tom Brady in the Bucs makes it easy to daydream about what lies ahead this fall.

But lost in the buzz from Thursday’s schedule release was the announcement of the preseason schedule. Of course, those games don’t count and no one really cares about them for any reason other than “I finally have football to watch again.” However, it’s still worth looking at the four-game slate to see what all comes before the excitement of Week 1. For the Bucs, their 2020 preseason schedule looks like this:

Aug. 13-17: at Pittsburgh

Aug. 22: vs. Jacksonville

Aug. 27-30: vs. Tennessee

Sept. 3-4: at Cleveland

All four of Tampa Bay’s preseason opponents hail from the AFC, which makes enough sense, especially with none of them being on the regular season schedule. But there’s one glaring omission from that group of opponents, and I can’t seem to wrap my head around the reason why...

The Bucs won’t be playing the Miami Dolphins this year. As The Athletic’s Greg Auman tweeted on Thursday night, this is just the third time since 2000 that the teams won’t meet in the preseason. Weird, right? I’d think it’s a game that makes so much geographical sense that no one can really have a problem with it happening every August, you know? It’s strange to me that this year, we won’t see that game.

And I’m not crushed and crying because we won’t see the two teams meet, although it would be cool to see Miami’s No. 5 overall pick, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, match up against the Bucs. I’m just confused as to why this year of all years is one of the few over the past 20 seasons that this game isn’t happening. I mean, with where we are in the world right now with this pandemic, wouldn’t it have seemed really easy to schedule two in-state teams to play each other in one of these four meaningless games rather than have Tampa Bay head up to, say, Pittsburgh or Cleveland? It just seems weird to me.

I won’t claim to know all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into scheduling—especially with the preseason. So, there could be a perfectly valid reason for this. It might be complex or it could honestly be really simple. And truthfully, it’s not like it really matters at all! This question has just been lingering in my mind for the past few days, so I thought I’d share it with all of you.

Thoughts, Bucs fans?

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