Desmond Howard says narrow timeline could hurt B1G's College Football Playoff hopes in jeopardy
There’s absolutely no margin for error. With the B1G announcing on Wednesday that it has reinstated the fall football season for 2020 and will begin on the weekend of October 24, there will be absolutely no flexibility for the conference as it pursues a spot in the College Football Playoff.
A revised B1G schedule will have teams playing eight “regular season” games in eight straight weeks, followed by a “Champions Week” in which teams will close out the season against an opponent based on how they finished in the division (East No. 1 vs. West No. 1, East No. 2 vs. West No. 2, etc.).
“Champions Week” is scheduled for Dec. 19, which is just one day before the College Football Playoff selection committee will make its final decision on which teams earn a spot into the four-team field.
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ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard says that short timeline is putting a lot of strain on the B1G.
“That’s very interesting because we had coach Ryan Day, Ohio State’s head coach, on the show last Saturday and his target date for this whole thing to work would have been the previous week, October 17, I believe,” Howard said on ESPN’s Get Up. “For them to start a week later, it makes me wonder if they’re going to be able to pull this off in time, based on the schedule that Ryan Day laid out for us, as far as when the Big Ten Championship would be played, and I also heard Heather Dinich earlier this morning repeated the same schedule. For them to have to start a week later, it puts a lot of strain on them as a conference.”
It’s going to be especially difficult if there are any issues with COVID-19 within a program.
The B1G announced that players will undergo daily antigen testing, beginning no later than Sept. 30. If a player tests positive, he is not permitted to return to competition for a minimum of 21 days from when the result was received. If there’s an infection rate of 5% or higher, teams must shut down operations for a minimum of 7 days.
With no bye weeks built into the new schedule, it would force games to be either forfeited or declared a “no contest” with no possible make-up date that would count towards a College Football Playoff berth.
It’s certainly something to keep an eye on.