College Football Playoff Makes Major Changes Due to COVID-19 Surge

The College Football Playoff just made significant changes due to the COVID-19 surge. The CFP announced new COVID-19 police to where a team can advance to the national championship game — and win it — by its opponents forfeiting, as mentioned by ESPN. The championship game is scheduled to take place on Jan. 10 but can be pushed back to Jan. 14 if necessary. But if one team can play in the game and the other can't because of the COVID-19 — and the game can't be rescheduled — the team that can't play will forfeit and the opponent will be declared national championship. If both teams can't play on the original or rescheduled date, the College Football Playoff National Championship will be vacated for the season.

"As we prepare for the playoff, it's wise and necessary to put into place additional precautions to protect those who will play and coach the games," CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement. "These policies will better protect our students and staffs while providing clarity in the event worst-case scenarios result."  

The four teams that are playing in the College Football Playoff are Alabama, Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati. Alabama will face Cincinnati in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. Michigan will face Georgia in the CFP Semifinal at the Captial One Orange Bowl. Both games will be played on New Year's Eve. 

The news comes shortly after Georgia quarterback JT Daniels tested positive for COVID-19. Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone tested positive for the virus. "We received notification that offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien and OL coach Doug Marrone tested positive for COVID-19," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "They have very mild symptoms and are home isolating while following all appropriate guidelines. We anticipate both being able to coach in the CFP."

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"We certainly wish we were not in this position," Hancock said, "but the only responsible thing is to take whatever actions we can reasonably take to better protect those who play and coach the game." Alabama is looking to win its seventh national title since 2009. Michigan is looking to claim its first title since 1997. Georgia hasn't won the title since 1980, and Cincinnati is on the verge of winning its first championship.