The Ghost of Pandemic Current has a hand, too, with the high-profile LSU-Florida recreation shelved Wednesday due to a covid-19 cluster on the Gators’ roster. To be truthful, LSU (1-2) did its half to decrease the influence of this contest with its play thus far, although that is normally a fairly entertaining pairing. Likewise, Oklahoma State-Baylor additionally was pushed again attributable to contagion.
Contemplating these postponements are an understandably every-week incidence within the sport, and the Huge Ten and Pac-12 not-so-understandably didn’t hassle to construct an open date into their schedules, it’s about time to consider the Ghost of Pandemic Future. Specifically, how for much longer can issues go with out rearranging the tip of the season?
This can be a completely different query than whether or not the season truly reaches its endpoint with out shutting down. That’s a legitimate concern which by no means actually left the minds of those that worth public well being, security and well-being over leisure and cash all through the final seven months.
Setting that apart, the ACC, Huge 12 and SEC sagely constructed wiggle room into their schedules within the type of Dec. 12, a projected additional week earlier than a convention title recreation. These leagues have already mixed to push 5 video games into that window (Notre Dame-Wake Forest, Virginia-Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt-Missouri, in addition to LSU-Florida and Oklahoma State-Baylor).
How lengthy will it’s earlier than a staff will get a second postponement and Dec. 19 seems more and more unrealistic for a league title recreation (it might very properly occur if there’s a single outbreak on a Huge Ten staff by month’s finish)? In flip, how lengthy will Jan. 1 stay a viable date for the playoff semifinals? And the way deep into winter are school soccer’s powers that be keen to push video games, even a nationwide title?
These aren’t questions with clear-cut proper or flawed solutions. In a bizarre season with uncommon circumstances and a transparent push to maintain going — which, relying in your standpoint, may be considered as dedication or recalcitrance — they nonetheless would possibly require some type of reply.
The game’s energy brokers shouldn’t be anticipated to have each contingency sorted out at this level, partially as a result of agency plans are antithetical to the current actuality. Nevertheless it’s in all probability time to start out publicly floating some concepts for a way a lot school soccer is keen to juggle and the way lengthy it’s keen to attend to attain closure on this season.
5 with essentially the most at stake
1 and 1a. Alabama and Georgia. There’s a risk that is merely the primary of three rounds between the 2 SEC heavyweights. Contemplating the state of the remainder of the league, there’s an excellent higher likelihood it’s at minimal a preview of the SEC championship recreation. The winner in Tuscaloosa emerges because the SEC’s final unbeaten staff and proprietor of the most effective victory on the board thus far.
2. Clemson. It’s the identical story each week for the No. 1 Tigers; financial institution one other victory and transfer every week nearer to a sixth consecutive playoff berth. But nobody is sharp each week, and even Clemson isn’t totally proof against reloading the musket every week after the buildup to a blowout of Miami. The Tigers shouldn’t have hassle in a midday kickoff at Georgia Tech, however the Yellow Jackets have proved feisty up to now.
3. Notre Dame. One other ACC unbeaten, the No. Four Preventing Irish (3-0) conclude a four-game homestand to open the season (granted, a visit to Wake Forest wedged within the center obtained postponed) as Louisville makes the journey to South Bend. Whereas the Cardinals’ protection is poor, they nonetheless have sufficient items on offense to create some complications for Brian Kelly’s staff.
4. Mississippi State. Oh, how rapidly issues change. Three weekends in the past, Mike Leach was the toast of the SEC after the Bulldogs’ offense torched LSU. Then it sputtered in a loss to Arkansas and threw six interceptions in a 24-2 setback in opposition to Kentucky, and the latter consequence led Leach to revive his outdated behavior of blaming his gamers for all that ailed his staff. The Bulldogs get No. 11 Texas A&M at house, and with a visit to Alabama looming on Halloween, a 1-Four begin appears possible if they will’t upend the Aggies.
5. Tennessee. Whereas the No. 18 Volunteers stitched collectively an honest first half in opposition to Georgia final week, they nonetheless have been bottled as much as minus-1 dashing yards and didn’t rating after the break. All that demonstrated is Tennessee (2-1, 2-1 SEC) isn’t on the identical stage because the Bulldogs, hardly an astonishing improvement. Do the Vols shake off their first loss in 51 weeks with plucky Kentucky (1-2, 1-2) arriving in Knoxville?
1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson; 1,140 yards, 10 TDs, Zero INT passing; 48 yards, Four TD dashing. Ho hum. One other 292 yards and three touchdowns passing in opposition to Miami’s succesful protection to guide the undefeated Tigers to a cushty victory. Lawrence stays the favourite. (Final week: 1)
2. RB Najee Harris, Alabama; 347 yards, 10 TDs dashing; 7 receptions for 76 yards. Contemplating “the most effective offensive talent participant on a playoff staff” winds up with the stiff-arming statue as a rule, Harris goes to be an element with a pair extra video games like final week’s 206-yard, five-touchdown show in opposition to Ole Miss. (LW: Not ranked)
3. QB Kyle Trask, Florida; 996 yards, 14 TDs, 1 INT passing. Powerful responsible the senior an excessive amount of for the Gators’ lack of ability to cease Texas A&M’s offense. He would have been in for an enormous day in opposition to the struggling LSU secondary have been it not for a covid-related postponement. (LW: 2)
4. QB Mac Jones, Alabama; 1,101 yards, eight TDs, 1 INT passing. He gained’t get to face Mississippi’s abysmal protection each week, however Jones has accomplished 79.5 p.c of his makes an attempt. It isn’t fluky, both; final 12 months, he had a 186.Three move effectivity ranking and threw for 14 touchdowns in opposition to simply three interceptions. (LW: Not ranked)
5. QB Kellen Mond, Texas A&M; 845 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT passing. Value a take care of shredding Florida for 338 yards and three TDs, although he must maintain that stage of play over the Aggies’ subsequent seven video games. (LW: Not ranked)