TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — There were conversations earlier this week about moving the College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the University of Alabama and Ohio State to Jan. 18 due to COVID-19 issues in the Buckeyes' program.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban laid the idea of moving the title game a week to bed on Thursday morning during his media availability, citing multiple factors for keeping the game on schedule for this Monday night inside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
"Well, look, I think everybody respects the disruptions that we've had to endure throughout the season," Saban said. "We have total respect for the safety of players. If there were — and I think there were some issues relative to COVID, and there were discussions as to whether it was fair to continue or to move the game back and all that.
"I think there would have been some probably, I don't know, difficult management issues if we would have moved the game back. Our school is starting this next week. We would have had 35,000 students coming back here. We've played 12 games this year, so we have a lot of guys that have ground through the season, a lot of guys that are nicked up a little bit.
"Another week of practice would have been much more difficult for those guys probably. January 18th is a day people got to decide whether they're going to go out for the draft or not. So just the whole timing of the whole thing would have been a tough management. But I would have put player safety on either team as the most important factor in this decision."
From the players' perspective, blocking out the distractions of when the title game is played hasn't been difficult.
"I think we just focus on what we have to do to prepare for the game, and whenever that is and whatever date it is,” wide receiver John Metchie II said earlier this week. “I know that we’ll be ready and well prepared to play.”