The postponements and cancellations continue. In a season already drastically altered and shortened due to the novel coronavirus, Week 11 of the college football season is no exception. Last week there were 10 games that were either postponed or cancelled. This week also has 10 postponed or cancelled games but the difference is that there are many affected games between ranked opponents.
The most high profile are between #1 Alabama and LSU and #3 Ohio State and Maryland. To juxtapose that against last week, only Purdue at #10 Wisconsin was cancelled with a ranked opponent involved. It should be noted last week that two PAC-12 games were cancelled in their opening week of the season. It's important that if teams are to qualify for the postseason, let alone the College Football Playoff, they will need to play at least six games. If a team in the PAC-12 already has a cancelled game, they have to win out and win the PAC-12 championship just to have a shot at qualifying for a playoff position.
It's not hard to imagine that even a won-loss SEC or ACC team including the likes of Clemson would be favored by the selection committee to have a shot at the national title. That's not to mention that Clemson probably wouldn't have lost their crazy game against Notre Dame in overtime if they had their starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence who was out after testing positive for the virus.
Now we have many SEC games postponed including #5 Texas A&M at Tennessee, #12 Georgia at Missouri and #24 Auburn at Mississippi State. These games bring up many more questions than answers with none looming larger than when these games will be rescheduled? It's a big doubt these games will even be played. For example, Missouri already had their game against Vanderbilt postponed which was originally scheduled for October 17. With everything going according to plan, that game is rescheduled for December 12. Does that mean that they'll play Georgia December 19 and then a bowl game just a week or two later? Heaven forbid any more games postponed. At that rate, we'll have games far into January. It may be time to consider expanding the College Football Playoff for the first time.
For Alabama and LSU, this was on par to be one of the best games on paper before the start of the season. That's why games aren't played on paper. LSU has had one of the worst championship hangovers in recent memory and are sitting at 2-3 right now. They'll be fine in the long run with one of the better recruiting classes in the country. But they will need to tighten up tremendously on defense before this one gets rescheduled. In their three losses they gave up 44, 45, 48 respectively. Nothing is clicking under defensive coordinator Bo Pelini who is in his second stint at LSU. He's won a national championship in the position before in 2008 but his unit has a long way to go to get back to being elite like they were last year.
Former LSU coach and current Alabama legend Nick Saban has his team back in the number one spot after Clemson's loss last week. Love him or hate him you have to respect his program. While everything else is up in limbo, Saban has his program back to their usual spot at the top of the mountain even though he has had the coronavirus himself. This is also after they lost their once in a generation quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa to the NFL. It's just awe inspiring how he gets his teams prepared no matter the circumstances. Whenever this game is rescheduled, LSU has a lot of work to do before they make this game competitive again.
For Ohio State, this might be a big blow to their national championship aspirations as there is no chance that this game will be rescheduled. Just ask Nebraska. The Huskers Week 2 game against Wisconsin was cancelled and they tried to schedule another game against out of conference Chattanooga and we're promptly shut down by the BIG-10. Will the selection committee be more forgiving with Ohio State if they are undefeated at the end of the season and only lost out on games on circumstances that were ultimately out of their control? That may be the biggest question looming over the entire 2020 season. What is considered elite in a season where the sample size is considerably shorter.
It's also a considerable disappointment we won't see the Buckeyes and Terrapins suit up. In any other year, this would be a tuneup game for Ohio State. Maryland has been terrible every since joining the Big 10 but there has been some hope on the horizon this year. Much of that hope stems from the emergence of Tua's brother quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa.
While the Terrapins were knocked in the mouth in a four-turnover performance against Northwestern to open their season, Taulia led a monumental comeback against Minnesota and pulled off a surprising upset against the now 0-3 Penn State Nittany Lions. This one would have been a major uphill climb for Maryland, but just see these exciting elite dual threat QBs of Justin Fields and Tagovailoa would have been worth the price of admission. Just add it to one more thing COVID-19 has altered this season.