Alabama Football: A suddenly very sticky, COVID-driven, difficult, scheduling situation may not have a good solution.
Many Alabama football fans are slamming Ed Orgeron for apparent cowardly action. Dodging the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday night may not have been motivated by Orgeron’s fear of failure. He certainly does not comport himself as a man who fears much of anything. That does not change the anticipated fact that even with a full roster of players, LSU was going to be trounced by the Crimson Tide.
Trying to escape from such a butt-kicking is probably in the best interest of Orgeron and the LSU football program. Of course, he will be challenged with his bold words in the offseason. There is the time when responding to scheduling adjustments made necessary by the virus, Orgeron said his LSU team would play anytime, anywhere. The exact quote was,
"You call us at midnight, we’ll go play in the pasture"
Clearly, Coach O did not mean against Nick Saban and Alabama football, with only one scholarship LSU quarterback and no tight ends. Playing the Crimson Tide later this season is better for LSU. Best would be not playing the Tide at all. But later would likely mean LSU starting quarterback, Myles Brennan would be healthy and available. With Brennan, the Bengal Tigers could possibly cut a potentially five touchdown loss in half.
Stepping back a bit, all Alabama football fans should at least consider, Coach O and all his players want to compete this Saturday. Realistically, they can’t, because of a virus that refuses to yield to a human calendar.
Taking every reasonable precaution for the safety of players, coaches and other school staff should happen. Taking too big chances is not acceptable to the SEC, even if the response disrupts a football season.
There are no easy solutions. Neither of the two participants in the 2020 SEC Championship game can be allowed a scheduling advantage over their opponent. Most assumptions are those two teams will be the Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators. But too many games remain to be 100 percent sure those two teams will meet in Atlanta. The Gators could have a late-season collapse, allowing Georgia to sneak past them. Far less likely but not impossible is a Crimson Tide fizzle, but Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies are only one loss behind the Tide. If the Tide loses twice and the Aggies win out, they will go to Atlanta.
The point is the SEC trying to ensure an equal number of games does not solve all scenarios. The problem of one team having an open date on Dec. 12 and the other not, is not solved by moving the Bama-LSU game to Dec. 12. Who then would Florida play?
"We don’t have an infinite amount of time to make up games"
This seems to foreshadow a reality where one or more teams will be displeased with any change. LSU still wants its home game and has floated the idea it be played on Dec. 19. It should not shock LSU fans if the game is not played this season. If it isn’t, any idea of the 2021 game being moved from Tuscaloosa to Baton Rouge should be discarded.
In this oddest of seasons, an SEC Championship does not hinge on an Alabama vs. LSU game. If other variables can be reconciled, a one-season absence of the game is not a big deal.