USA TODAY Sports staff
Published 1:11 p.m. ET Dec. 10, 2020 | Updated 2:08 p.m. ET Dec. 10, 2020
SportsPulse: Despite cancellations Ohio State shouldn’t be sweating their shot at the College Football Playoff according to Dan Wolken.
Oklahoma’s football team will have a bye week before the Big 12 championship game after all.
The Sooners’ game at West Virginia scheduled this Saturday and already postponed once two weeks ago due to COVID-19 issues on OU’s end was canceled after the Mountaineers shut down football operations for seven days due to the virus.
Also Thursday, the Big 12 announced the Texas-Kansas game scheduled for Saturday in Lawrence, Kansas, was canceled. This is the second time that game was called off. The issue a COVID-19 shutdown at Texas.
No. 12 OU will play No. 11 Iowa State for the Big 12 title Dec. 19 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. That game will kick off at noon ET.
The College Football Playoff pairings and any unannounced bowl invitations will be made on Dec. 20.
Oklahoma sooner schooner (Photo: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports)
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Boston College opts out of bowl
Boston College players have decided not to play in a bowl game this season despite the Eagles’ 6-5 record and successful start under first-year coach Jeff Hafley, the school said Thursday.
Emphasizing mask-wearing and social-distancing has helped the program have just one positive test for COVID-19 since returning to campus in June and be one of just three ACC teams to complete their regular-season schedule before this Saturday.
“Our student-athletes have sacrificed so much since June to even make this season possible for BC and our fans and now it is time for them to focus on finishing up the semester strong and going home to spend time with their families and loved ones,” said athletics director Pat Kraft.
Said Hafley, “I can’t thank our players enough for the sacrifice and commitment they showed to each other, to our team and to our community.”
“People may not fully understand just how grueling this season was and our team needs and deserves an extended break to help recharge their minds and bodies.”
Boston College is the first program to publicly opt out of bowl play during a year when the postseason will be dramatically changed by the pandemic. The number of bowl games has already dropped from 43 to 33 and may shrink further before the end of the regular season on Dec. 19.
Bowl games that are played will likely feature none of the traditional banquets and festivities that typically run in the week leading into kickoff. Instead, teams are expected to treat bowl games like a normal road trip, arriving as late as the night before the game and leaving after the final whistle.
The College Football Playoff semifinals are scheduled for Jan. 1, with the national championship game set for Monday, Jan. 11.
LSU imposed a one-year bowl ban Wednesday for the 2020-21 season as part of the program’s suggested penalties for NCAA violations under former coach Les Miles and current coach Ed Orgeron.
Washington again pauses team activities
Washington will not conduct team activities for the second straight day as a result of positive COVID-19 tests within the program, creating uncertainty around the Huskies’ matchup Saturday with rival Oregon to decide the Pac-12 North division.
If able to proceed as planned, it’ll be a winner-take-all game: Washington is 3-1 and Oregon is 3-2 in conference play. The head-to-head result would serve as the tiebreaker and send the winner to the league championship game against the winner of the South Division, which will be one of Southern California or Colorado.
If unable to play, the Huskies would win the division by virtue of having the higher winning percentage.
One other scenario could unfold before Saturday. Should the Pac-12 be able to play no more than three of six league games scheduled for the weekend, the league would remove the two divisions and pit the two best teams overall in the conference title game.
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