Nick Saban Confirms Talks of Postponing Alabama vs. OSU CFP Title Game

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2021

Alabama head coach Nick Saban applauds as he watches his team play Notre Dame late in the second half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

Alabama head coach Nick Saban confirmed there were at least discussions about moving Monday's College Football Playoff National Championship game back because of COVID-19 concerns with Ohio State. 

"There were discussions as to whether it was fair to continue or to move the game back and all that," he said, per John Zenor of the Associated Press. 

However, Saban pointed to the fact Jan. 18 is the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft and suggested doing so "would have been a tough management" even while granting "player safety on either team as the most important factor in this decision."

There have been questions about how many players the Buckeyes will have available because of COVID-19 concerns.

On Thursday, Dan Patrick reported a source told him "Ohio State is very close to the availability limit right now." However, Austin Ward of Letterman Row reported the Buckeyes have continued practicing and have not closed their facilities this week, which he wrote would have happened if they were "very close" to the limit.

Head coach Ryan Day told reporters on Thursday "plenty of players" will be available even if he is unsure how many will be sidelined.

Playing the Crimson Tide would be a difficult enough task for Ohio State even if it were fully healthy. After all, quarterback Mac Jones, wide receiver DeVonta Smith and running back Najee Harris were all Heisman Trophy candidates with Smith taking the trophy home.

The Buckeyes looked up to the task when they handled Clemson with ease in the semifinals in a 49-28 victory. Justin Fields remained in the game following a hard hit from Clemson linebacker James Skalski and threw for six touchdowns in a brilliant individual performance.

Ohio State will likely need him to be equally as good if not better to win the national title, especially if it is shorthanded.


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