CFP sets makeup dates if virus forces delays


Should a situation arise where any of the top four teams can’t compete in the College Football Playoff because of COVID-19, the CFP has set January makeup dates for both semifinal games and the national championship, CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN on Wednesday.

There has been no indication from the teams or the CFP that a change will be necessary, but if both semifinal games have to be postponed, the CFP has targeted Jan. 11 for The Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One and Jan. 12 for the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The makeup date for the College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T is Jan. 18 — one week after its current date of Jan. 11 — at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

If both teams are available for a semifinal, the game will be played as scheduled even if the other contest has to be postponed. If one semifinal is delayed, the plan is to reschedule it for Jan. 11.

No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Notre Dame are scheduled to play at 4 p.m. ET Friday in the Rose Bowl, followed by No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State at 8 p.m. ET in the Sugar Bowl.

“Everyone is planning to play the games as scheduled,” Hancock said. “The teams, schools’ staffs and bowl staffs have been working really hard to provide an opportunity for the players. COVID procedures are in place at hotels and stadiums. We have prepared thoroughly, and we are ready. But it always makes sense to be prepared, even for circumstances we don’t believe will happen.”

Hancock said the makeup dates were determined with the consideration that the Rose Bowl includes the highest seed, Alabama.

If any games are rescheduled, the locations would stay the same, Hancock said. The Rose Bowl this year is at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the Sugar Bowl remains at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

“Of course, we will keep an eye on things and adapt if we have to,” Hancock said. “Bowl season has gotten off to an exciting start, and we’re planning for that to continue.”

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