The College Football Playoff’s COVID-19 Rules are Senseless and Backwards
We are just a little over a week away from the College Football Playoff and with COVID-19 being a part of everyday life, nothing is for certain. That includes the most important games of the entire college football season.
With more teams backing out of bowl games, the College Football Playoff Management Committee has announced a series of actions and precautions it will take to protect student-athletes who are participating in the playoff games and/or the Fiesta and Peach Bowls.
Let’s take a look at these rules, shall we?
*The following are the policies for the Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Peach Bowl if an institution determines that it is unable to compete in the game because an insufficient number of athletes are available to play because of COVID-19.
- Fiesta and Peach Bowls – The CFP, bowl game and ESPN shall attempt to identify an alternate date for the game within one week of the scheduled date; if no date can be identified, the game would be considered no contest.
- Playoff Semifinals (Cotton and Orange Bowls) if one team is unavailable to play – The unavailable team shall forfeit the game and its opponent would advance to the national championship game.
- Playoff Semifinals (Cotton and Orange Bowls) if both teams are unavailable to play in one semifinal – The semifinal game would be declared “no contest” and the team winning the other semifinal game would be declared the CFP National Champion.
- Playoff Semifinals (Cotton and Orange Bowls) if three teams are unavailable to play – The semifinal game in which two teams are unable to play would be declared “no contest.” In the other semifinal game, the team unable to play shall forfeit the game and its opponent would be declared CFP National Champion.
- CFP National Championship – If the team’s unavailability is determined after the Playoff Semifinals have been conducted, the national championship game in Indianapolis may be rescheduled to no later than Friday, January 14. If one team is able to play and the other is not and the game cannot be rescheduled or is rescheduled and cannot be played, then the team unable to play shall forfeit the game and the other team shall be declared CFP National Champion. If both teams are unable to play on either an original or rescheduled date, then the game shall be declared “no contest” and the CFP National Championship shall be vacated for this season.
There is plenty to take away from this but the biggest thing that jumps out to me is the fact that it is basically saying that bowl games are more important than the College Football Playoff.
Look at the policy for the Peach and Fiesta Bowl. If one team or both teams can’t play on the scheduled date, they get a week to figure things out before being ruled a no contest. However, if that same problem arises in the College Football Playoff, they don’t get a week to get things right. The team that has COVID-19 issues is done for the year and they get no chance to reschedule. How in the world does that make any sense?
We aren’t talking about just some bowl game or just a NY6 game, THIS IS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! Why aren’t we taking the time necessary to get things organized before making a rash decision. It would be a great shame to see a team have to give up their shot at winning a national championship because they weren’t ready to play a playoff game on New Year’s Eve. Yet if you play in the Peach or Fiesta Bowl, you don’t even have to be ready on the day of the game as long as you get ready to play in the next seven days. It makes absolutely zero sense to me.
Say Cincinnati, Alabama and Georgia can’t play on New Year’s Eve due to COVID-19. Do you know what happens then? Michigan wins the national title by default and that’s just not right. These teams work their butt off to get to this point of the season and while they take this game seriously, some management committee is goofing off making some bogus rules.
Do you know why we all watch college football? It’s because we love the sport. It runs in our blood. Yet, a committee has found a way to ruin it. It took almost 150 years to get the playoff installed and somehow people have found a way to potentially screw it all up.
There is no reason the teams who are playing in the most important games aren’t getting the same opportunities as the ones who are playing in the Peach and Fiesta Bowl. I get that we have to have an end date on the championship game but if other bowl games are able to move around then why can’t the two most important ones do the same thing?
Even if we aren’t able to get the same venues for these two playoff games, just move the game somewhere else entirely. For all I care they could give two home playoff games to the highest seeds. I am sure the visiting coaches would rather be playing on the road in someone else’s stadium instead of not getting a chance to play at all. The time or place of these playoff games aren’t important. The important thing is that we get these games played and give these four teams the respect they deserve because they made the playoff, and they deserve a fair shot just like everyone else.