The games have been played and the date is set. Alabama will face off against Ohio State in the 2021 National Championship Game. Alabama got there by beating Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl, while Ohio State dismantled Trevor Lawrence and Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. Per usual, the game is scheduled for the second Monday in January.
But that might change, and for a familiar reason. AL.com reports the college football championship could be postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Ohio State ranks:
There are concerns related to Ohio State’s player availability for the game, according to sources, setting up a massive decision less than a week from when the game is scheduled to kick off in Miami. Ohio State has informed key parties involved it could be without a position group due to COVID-19 testing and related protocols. There have been discussions amongst the SEC, Big Ten, the College Football Playoff and the schools related to possibly postponing the Jan. 11 title game, sources said, though a final decision on the situation has yet to be reached. The CFP has already established Jan. 18 in Hard Rock Stadium as the makeup date should the title game have to be postponed.
Ohio State has already had to deal with a coronavirus outbreak on the team earlier in the season, causing them to miss a game and forcing the Big Ten to change their minimum games played rule to allow the Buckeyes into the title game.
As the piece notes, there is already a date settled upon should the game need to be postponed. But it would be a pretty big deal for the game to get postponed when most other teams have just been forced to deal with it if a COVID outbreak decimates their roster if the game is still played. A week's postponement could also allow time for star Buckeyes QB Justin Fields to heal up after he got hammered during the Sugar Bowl. Competitive concerns are still secondary to player safety, obviously.
This has been a college football season like no other due to the pandemic, and as it nears its end, COVID rears its ugly head. Nobody can outrun it. Postponing the game isn't what anybody wants, but it might be what they have to do.