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USATSI

The College Football Playoff semifinals are scheduled to be played on Friday, Jan. 1. Should one or both games need to be postponed due to the coronavirus, though, the CFP has a backup plan. In an interview with Heather Dinich of ESPN, playoff executive director Bill Hancock revealed that the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl could be pushed back to Jan. 11 and Jan. 12, respectively, if need be should both games be rescheduled. If only one game needs to be postponed, it will be pushed to Jan. 11. Meanwhile, the makeup date for the College Football Playoff National Championship would be Jan. 18. 

The playoff has been adamant throughout a difficult 2020 season that it would not move its dates unless absolutely necessary. Several bowls, including the Music City and Texas bowls, have been canceled leading up to kickoff because of COVID-19 outbreaks. Obviously, the semifinals nor the championship game would be canceled short of an unforeseen negative development in the coronavirus pandemic. But the good news is that it would appear both semifinals are still set to be played on time. 

"Everyone is planning to play the games as scheduled," Hancock said. "The teams, schools' staffs and bowl staffs have been working really hard to provide an opportunity for the players. COVID procedures are in place at hotels and stadiums. We have prepared thoroughly, and we are ready. But it always makes sense to be prepared, even for circumstances we don't believe will happen."

The Rose Bowl, pairing No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Notre Dame, has already been moved from Pasadena to Arlington, Texas, due to local restrictions on gatherings at sporting events. No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State are still scheduled to play in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.