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College Football Playoff Champion Could Be Crowned Due To COVID-19 Forfeit, CFP Committee Announces
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 04: Georgia Bulldogs mascot Hairy Dawg during the SEC Championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs on December 04, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. (Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Maybe temper your expectations as the College Football Playoff creeps ever closer.

With the Omicron variant rapidly spreading across the country, sports leagues are canceling games left and right as athletes continue to test positive for COVID-19. The world of college football has not been immune, with Texas A&M forced to pull out of the Gator Bowl due to COVID-19 and injury issues on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, the College Football Playoff Management Committee announced their COVID-19 postseason policies, including the actions that will be taken if a playoff team has an “insufficient number of athletes” to field a team due to COVID-19 issues for the two semifinals games and the national championship matchup.

“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,” said Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the CFP. “These policies will better protect our students and staffs while providing clarity in the event worst-case scenarios result.”

The semifinals will take place on December 31, with Alabama and Cincinnati playing in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, and Michigan and Georgia facing off in the Capital One Orange Bowl. The national championship game is scheduled for Monday, January 10.

According to the CFP committee, the two semifinal games will not be rescheduled if one or both teams are unable to play due to COVID-19. If one team cannot play, “the unavailable team shall forfeit the game and its opponent would advance to the national championship game.”

In the event that neither team is able to field a team, the game will be ruled a “no contest” and the winner of the other semifinal matchup will be declared the college football national champion.

For the national championship game, the committee has allowed for the game to be rescheduled, but it cannot be played later than January 14.

“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,” the committee said. “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.”

COVID-19 is already impacting one playoff team, with Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone testing positive on Wednesday. Both coaches are expected to be back in time for Alabama’s semifinal game.

Head coach Nick Saban told reporters on Monday that his team is more than 90% vaccinated, and that masks and social distancing have been reinstated ahead of their semifinal matchup against Cincinnati.

Michigan offensive lineman Andrew Stueber told reporters on Tuesday that Wolverine football players will be receiving their COVID-19 booster shots on Wednesday.

“The booster’s out there now, we have a full team booster shot tomorrow, so that’ll be good,” Stueber said Tuesday. “I think everyone understands the gravity of the situation, to have an outbreak now would be devastating to a lot of people. Understanding the concern there is a big thing, so we’ve taken the proper precautions there.”

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to

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