"If you want the return of college football this year, wear a face covering."
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams is using future Saturday gamedays to try to get Americans to start consistently wearing masks ... saying straight-up if people do it, college football can come back.
Adams made the comments Tuesday ... saying nose-and-mouth coverings are proven to help slow the spread of coronavirus -- and could be the key to football returning in the fall.
"Please, please, please wear a face covering when you go out in public," Adams said. "It is not an inconvenience, it is not a suppression of your freedom. It actually is a vehicle to achieve our goals."
Adams added, "If you want to see North Carolina beat Duke in person this year, wear a face covering."
Clearly, the sports world agrees with the doc ... the Saints issued a mask PSA with Sean Payton this week -- writing with a photoshopped pic of their head coach, "Do your job."