On Friday, the Big Ten will finally start its college football season when Illinois visits No. 14 Wisconsin at 8 p.m. The rest of the conference will start playing football on Saturday.
The Big Ten, after first opting to postpone the 2020 season until the spring, will play an eight-week season with no wiggle room to make up any games that could be halted due to a COVID-19 outbreak at any of its member teams.
Considering the ACC, Big 12 and the SEC have already had multiple games postponed and moved to later dates in the season, it seems inevitable the Big Ten and the Pac-12, which begins on Nov. 7, will have cancellations.
The possibility of cancellations in the two Power 5 Conferences has brought up the conversation, what will the College Football Playoff Committee decide if one or two champions from a Power 5 Conference has played just five or six games, compared to other conference champions that could play 10 or more?
For instance, Clemson has already played five more games than Ohio State, which starts its season against Nebraska on Saturday.
ESPN analysts Greg McElroy and Joey Galloway said earlier this week they believe the committee should at least think about expanding the playoff to let those teams who have played fewer games in, or judge a team based off the “eye test” rather than its resume or the number of games it has played.
But that strikes up the debate, is it fair for the team who has played 12 games to have to face a team that has played significantly less in a playoff game, especially when the team who has played 12 games has had to deal with more personnel issues, injuries and other factors that come with a longer season?
When offered up the question following Wednesday’s practice, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney did not have much of an opinion on the topic.
“Hopefully, we are there,” he said. “That is why they have a committee to sit around and talk about all that stuff. If they put me on the committee then I could offer up my opinion and all that, but I just care about Clemson and if we handle our business.
“Hopefully, we can find a way to get there. That would be a blessing. We would be happy to play anybody they want us to play.”
Clemson, who will host Syracuse on Saturday at Death Valley, is in position to get there. The Tigers are off to a 5-0 start and are ranked No. 1 in the country in both major polls. The CFP Committee’s first rankings will not be released until Nov. 24.
The first rankings were pushed back a week from Nov. 17 after all 10 FBS conferences announced their intentions to play a fall football season. The 13-member selection committee will announce its fifth and final ranking on selection day, which is set for Dec. 20.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the selection committee is releasing just five weekly rankings this year as opposed to six, which it normally releases.
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