Another day, another story on the coronavirus pandemic’s potential impact on the 2020 season, this time as it relates to the College Football Playoff.
Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy was roundly criticized when he argued that college coaches should get back to the business of football May 1, with players following shortly thereafter. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney took numerous shots when he very boldly claimed there’s no doubt the college football season would start on time.
Last Thursday, a report from NFL insider Adam Schefter stated that among “people in and around college football this week, there is ‘strong conviction‘ there will be college football this season.” ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, meanwhile, made some noise late last month where he proclaimed that he will “be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football.” His College GameDay partner, Rece Davis, responded with guarded optimism. Sunday, the man Fowler replaced on GameDay, Chris Fowler, stated that “informed speculation” has the 2020 season starting February of next year.
If/when there is a season — as we have stated myriad times, those in the sport will move heaven and earth (twice if need be) to avoid the financial calamity that would follow a canceled season — there will, of course, be a College Football Playoff. Monday, the executive director of the CFP, Bill Hancock, told ESPN.com that he and his staffers moving forward with plans as if there will be a season and a playoff to determine a champion. And planning for it to be played “on time.”
From the report:
Hancock said there currently isn’t any particular benchmark date to make major decisions by, but that the planning period for organizing the playoff “is extensive,” and that the staff is currently finishing the budgeting process. They also have to design and purchase décor, lease buses, secure hotels, contract for services with the media, and complete a variety of other planning the public doesn’t usually see.
“There’s a long ramp-up time for this,” he said. “Could it be shorter? Sure. What is it? I don’t know. Would it be the same? No, it wouldn’t be the same. I can promise you the Super Bowl people are knee-deep into Tampa prep right now. Knee deep. We all do the same thing. We’re all very deliberate about our planning. Could we do it without that ramp-up time? Yes.
Hancock also declined to play the what-if game when it comes to the college football season being canceled.
“It’s only April,” he said. “It’s just too soon. It’s premature. The decision about whether to have a season and a CFP won’t be made by the coaches and commissioners. It will be made by the medical people. We have to be prepared, and we will be prepared, to have a CFP.”
The championship game for the 2020 college football season is scheduled to be played Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Garden’s Hard Rock Stadium. If the season doesn’t start until February as Fowler stated was a possibility, that game would be pushed back to sometime in June. Two months before the 2021 college football season is scheduled to kick off.