The outbreaks of Covid-19 on campuses across America are rampant, and they’re starting to change how we can calculate the winners of leagues, and how that might impact the College Football Playoff and bowl picture. And it’s getting more complicated each week.
Here are summaries of the five teams that are missing games this weekend, and how not playing this weekend affects their regular season and postseason hopes.
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. LSU Tigers
Bama (6-0) was expected to roll in Baton Rouge, as they were between a three-and-four touchdown favorite in Death Valley. With or without the Covid-19 outbreaks in Baton Rouge, it’s unlikely that Bama ever loses, but they also wouldn’t get the normal credit for an SEC West win.
The defending national champions just don’t have the horses in 2020 to give the Tide much of an issue. And if Bama doesn’t lose another game in the regular season (which seems likely with Kentucky, Auburn, and Arkansas remaining), as long as they beat what is likely Florida in the SEC Championship, they’re in the College Football Playoff. The week off is probably a good thing for the Tide.
No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Maryland Terrapins
Effect: None most likely.
We’re not quite sure how this happened, but the toughest game tOSU has left is... Indiana. We’re as blown away as you are.
The lack of an extra data point might hurt, but when it’s a team you opened as a 26-point favorite against, it should be fine. As long as they actually play all the games that are still on the schedule.
Clemson and Notre Dame both have clear cases for the Final Four. The SEC winner seems to be a lock. But you might be able to make the argument for the loser of the SEC Championship (especially if it’s Alabama) to take the last slot anyway.
An 8-0 Ohio State that pasted the entire Big Ten over a 9-1 Alabama that did the same in the SEC becomes an argument. But for now, we think the Buckeyes are fine as long as they run out.
No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Effect: Slim (as long as they eventually play the game)
It’s highly unlikely the Aggies (5-1) find their way to the SEC Championship anyway, as they’d need Bama to lose twice after getting rolled by the Tide 52-24 a month ago. But an extra data point could matter whether they make it to the New Year’s Eve Six bowl games.
This matchup has been rescheduled for December 12th, and if that happens and they beat Ole Miss, LSU, and Auburn, a 9-1 Gig ‘Em is heading to a prestige bowl game for sure.
No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs vs. Missouri Tigers
Effect: Out of their hands
Georgia has two losses anyway, and no path to the SEC title game without two more losses by Florida. Where the lack of a data point against a Mizzou hurts is any chance at redemption between now and the NYE6 games.
And with the rest of their schedule against Mississippi State (awful), South Carolina (bad) and Vanderbilt (guh), there just might not be enough quality wins on the schedule available to get them back in the mix. Despite having one of the best defenses in the country.
No. 24 Auburn Tigers vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Effect: None... unless they win the Iron Bowl.
Auburn’s chance at a big bowl game is pretty slim, but combine an unexpected Alabama loss with a massive upset win in the Iron Bowl (where have we seen that before), and the Barners could be on to something. But that’s a very, very thin path.
Let’s not even worry about this until after the Iron Bowl, which likely ends any chance they have to go anywhere, and will see the Tigers as at least three score underdogs.