Alabama Football: Backup plans for postponed Playoff games

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football and Notre Dame are expected to play on Friday. So are Ohio State and Clemson, but just in case …

There is almost no doubt Friday’s semi-final games will take place as planned. Alabama Football and the other three teams appear to have minimal risk of any roster and staff attrition. The one known exception is pretty significant.

Clemson lists Tony Elliott as Co-Offensive Coordinator. No other Clemson assistant is designated as the other ‘Co-OC.’ Maybe Elliott’s ‘Co’ is Dabo. Whatever the odd structure, Tony Elliott is the Clemson play-caller. He will not be calling plays Friday night. Elliott will not even be in New Orleans. He is also the running backs coach for the Tigers. The 2017 Broyles Award winner has had his current Clemson duties since 2014. He will not be easy to replace.

Pete Thamel tweeted Clemson Quarterback Coach and Passing Game Coordinator, Brandon Streeter will call plays in the semi-final. Streeter is well known and well respected by Clemson fans. As a former Clemson quarterback, and Liberty OC and play-caller, Streeter will not be learning a new role. Tony Elliott is expected back in advance of the National Championship date of Jan. 11.

The CFB Playoff Committee released a postponement schedule if any team is unable to play in a semi-final. If a postponement is necessary,

"Should a situation arise where any of the top four teams can’t compete in the College Football Playoff because of COVID-19 … the CFP has targeted Jan. 11 for The Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One and Jan. 12 for the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The makeup date for the College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T is Jan. 18."

It is good to have a plan. What is missing is a clear understanding of what circumstances must occur in order for a team to be ‘unable to compete.’ Through the conference championship games, each conference was the designated ‘decider’ for a game postponement. As all Crimson Tide fans know an unavailable head coach was not deemed by the SEC as a reason for Alabama Football to postpone play. There was no debate because the Alabama Crimson Tide chose to press on without Nick Saban.

So far, postponements and cancellations during the 2020 season have been triggered by deficient player rosters. Presumably, that will be true for the Playoffs. It is not known what might be done if Nick Saban or Dabo Swinney or another head coach was not available for a game. Expectations are the game would not be delayed, but imagine the Alabama Football or Clemson Tigers fanbase if either head coach must miss a National Championship game. Anguish and claims of unfairness would explode.

Next. Bold Predictions for Semi-Final. dark

All indications are both Notre Dame and the Alabama Football program have successfully managed recent COVID risk. The two teams will share the same hotel in Dallas, with no other guests allowed inside.