As far as Dabo Swinney is concerned, any College Football Playoff played in 2020 should include the Big Ten or Pac-12 only if those conferences play a traditional fall season.
Swinney on Thursday said he doesn’t think the Playoff should delay its schedule to accommodate those conferences if they follow through with plans to postpone their respective seasons. He was asked that question amid reports the Big Ten and Pac-12 are looking at earlier start dates to play football.
“We are ready to roll. That would be something I would not be in favor for,” Swinney said. “I am all in favor of (the Big Ten and Pac-12) playing. I’d love for them to play. That would be great. I think testing is a great opportunity for everyone for sure. It would be kind of hard to start in November and then get in there.
“We wouldn’t want to push the season in February and all that stuff. We are going to push forward. If something changes, it changes, but that is where we are right now.”
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While far from an ideal situation, there is a precedent for both the Big Ten and Pac-12 missing the Playoff: Neither conference made the final field in 2017 or ’18, which comprised of SEC, ACC and Big 12 teams (and, in the case of the latter, independent Notre Dame). The Pac-12 has missed all but two College Football Playoffs (2014 and ’16).
Yet recent reports indicate the Big Ten is looking to start its season as early as November, while the Pac-12 on Thursday announced a partnership with Quidel Corporation to provide rapid-result COVID-19 testing to its fall sport athletes. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott also said on Thursday he wants both conferences to align in their start dates.
“It would be awesome to have some of the traditional postseason opportunities the Pac-12 and Big Ten have enjoyed with each other,” Scott said.
That said, CFP executive director Bill Hancock — who revealed on Friday he tested positive for COVID-19 — said earlier this week he’s not in favor of awarding a split national championship. Hancock spoke to Sports Grind Entertainment earlier in August, saying he was hopeful a four-team Playoff could take place for the season.
“With the CFP we are hopeful, but it is too soon to say,” Hancock told SN. “It’s just too soon to talk about the implications of (the Big Ten and Pac-12 cancellations). Our staff had a call today about Miami and planning. We certainly want to be ready if there is a season.”
As it stands now, the Playoff semifinal games are scheduled to take place at the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2021. The championship game is slated for Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.