Could the College Football Playoff get moved back? It’s improbable, but Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said it’s not impossible.
Bowlsby said on SiriusXM College Radio on Thursday that the playoff has “some latitude” to be postponed if necessary. As of Thursday evening, 21 games over Week 10 and Week 11 of the 2020 college football season have been postponed due to COVID-19 as the number of coronavirus cases surges across the country.
“I’m on the CFP operations committee and we’ve spent some time talking about that,” Bowlsby said when he was asked about the playoff potentially moving back. “We haven’t come to any closure on it but there is some latitude to postpone if that need should arise and the same is true with some of the New Year’s Six games. But within reason you can do those things. I don’t know if I see us playing a championship game in February, but you just never know. These are unusual times, and things that might otherwise not be acceptable have to be considered in this kind of circumstance.”
Playoff scheduled for Jan. 1 and Jan. 11
The topic of possibly moving the playoff back has gathered steam as conferences like the SEC are facing the prospect of needing to make up games on the same day as their championship game. The SEC has had four games postponed ahead of Saturday’s Week 11 and will need to have Missouri and LSU potentially play games on Dec. 19 because they’ve already had postponed games scheduled for the conference’s makeup date of Dec. 12.
Other conferences, like the Big Ten and the Pac-12, are simply canceling games because they don’t have off weeks available before the conference title games on Dec. 19.
Conference title games across the country are scheduled for the 19th because the playoff selection show is the next day. The committee’s announcement comes 11 days before teams are scheduled to play in the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl — the two games that are serving as College Football Playoff semifinals this year. The national title game is scheduled for Jan. 11.
If conferences keep having to cancel and postpone games at the rates we’ve seen over the past 10 days, then moving the playoff back may become a more realistic option if conferences feel the need to keep playing through December. But the coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon either. Pushing more games back could simply lead to more postponements and cancellations.
Wednesday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was asked during a news conference about the possibility of the playoff being pushed back. He said he was focused on getting his conference’s season complete over the next five weeks.
“We have finish lines right now,” Sankey said. “So my focus is on Dec. 19 for an SEC championship game. I’ve said that. The semifinals are on [Jan. 1]. The championship on the 11th ... I’m not going to hypothesize about change, but I’m not inattentive to the potential that change may need to occur at a number of different levels.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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