Gordon Monson: Let the Utes play. Let the Pac-12 play. Discretion has bettered valor.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah players warm up as Utah prepares to face Oregon in the Pac-12 football championship game in Santa Clara, Calif., on Friday Dec. 6, 2019.

I’ve changed my mind.

Utah should go ahead and play football.

The Pac-12 should go ahead and play football.

The Pac-12 should be allowed to go ahead and play football by government leaders in California and Oregon, the ones who have restricted teams from schools in those states to have practices, let alone play games.

There’s likely a few of us out there — granted, far from all of us — who have resisted coming to that conclusion on account of … well, you know, a freaking global pandemic — is there any other kind? — that is plaguing our country and our world, killing a million people.

Those who claim the coronavirus is fake or inconsequential or insignificant enough to righteously call for ignoring the wearing of masks are, to quote Jimmy Kimmel, some of the dumbest people on the planet.

Here’s looking at you, Utah, those in the near and far reaches, at least, who continue to demonstrate that kind of ignorant unwillingness to listen to science and to help themselves and others stay healthy.

All of those lame-brained folks should be forced to sit down with those who have lost loved ones to COVID and hear their stories or to visit a hospital ward filled with virus patients fighting for their lives.

And stop with the idiotic comparisons with the number of people who are injured or who die behind the wheel of a car and those who are afflicted by the coronavirus. We don’t stop driving cars, do we?

No, but if there were things as simple as temporarily wearing a mask to prevent those injuries and deaths, everyone would be willing to save lives by wearing said masks while driving, right? Everyone except the people who are insecure about losing their individual rights, the selfish and stupid.

A good number of the more thoughtful and careful, then, have been slow in dragging our thinking to the point of believing that having college students pad up and smash into one another, in complete contrast to recommended social-distancing ideals from experts who have spent their entire professional lives studying viruses/diseases as they pertain to public health, is an acceptable idea.

Especially given that students at universities locally and around the country are, in more than a few cases, suffering outbreaks that are affecting them in one form or another and, whether they are asymptomatic or not, still being passed along to friends, family members, associates and others who may be more vulnerable to the effects and ramifications of COVID.

This country is far from being clear of the virus and as evidence has arrived that Utah is equally as vulnerable, the notion of playing football remains concerning.

Except for one thing, the thing to which Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has pointed as a real hope for the league and maybe the government leaders in California and Oregon to come around to that will activate and allow the practicing and playing. It’s the same thing that this week activated the Big Ten.

Daily testing.

That is the difference-maker, the addition that will, at least to the extent the testing is accurate, keep those who contract the virus from being on the field and spreading it around in close quarters. The Big Ten is insisting that players who test positive must sit for three weeks.

BYU, which tests players three times a week, should do the same. Again, that’s the difference-maker.

If schools can afford to do what professional teams have done — partner with a testing outfit that provides ample enough rapid-result checks on players every single day, then that seems like the breakthrough every reasonable person has wanted. Is is perfect? No. But it is acceptable.

And the fact that the Big Ten waited for that capability, assuming the schools actually pull it off, and the Pac-12 waits, still, assuming those government leaders give the OK, then it is a compliment to them that they did that waiting.

The additional fact that much of the delay had to do with concerns about liability regarding the ramifications of COVID and the schools not wanting to get themselves sued is notable to be sure. But it’s also useful, causing hesitation in institutions jumping willy-nilly into an endeavor that benefits them universally but might not be in the best interests of the athletes providing that economic benefit, a few fallen along the way to the financial advantage of the schools for which they sacrifice.

Daily testing, as long as it’s properly done, greatly lessens that risk, that possibility. And it’s enough to change even a cautious person’s mind about the wisdom in playing a game, the one a lot of us love, in the middle of a pandemic.

And those who are bent on blaming and hammering the Big Ten and the Pac-12 and the Mountain West, and other leagues, for going slow, just don’t.

Billy Shakespeare wrote it first, and whether he meant it as a joke or as the serious-as-a-heart-attack truth, in this context it doesn’t matter.

Discretion is the better part of valor.

GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” with Jake Scott weekdays from 2-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The Zone.