The COVID-19 pandemic has caused schedules around the world to be altered based on infection levels and local health regulations. College football is no exception. Conferences have pushed games back, altered schedules and limited the number of fans allowed in stadiums.
The College Football Playoff has adjusted accordingly. CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN Thursday that its initial rankings have been pushed back from Nov. 17 to Nov. 24 in order to accommodate the changes — specifically the Big Ten and Pac-12's decisions to stare in late October and early November, respectively. The final CFP Rankings and Selection Day are still slated for Dec. 20 — one day after many conferences hold their championship games
"Now that we know all conferences' starting dates, this change will allow the committee to analyze another week of games," Hancock told ESPN. "There will be four rankings before Selection Day. The committee members have been studying teams and watching video, and I know they're looking forward to rolling up their sleeves and getting together."
The rankings will be released four times before the final rankings are released -- the fewest number of times the CFP has revealed its in-season rankings.
Hancock said in August that the CFP would factor in the health and safety of everybody involved with football programs when making decisions regarding the upcoming schedule.
"In this unprecedented time, the Management Committee believes it is in the best interest for the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches and staffs to complete their game-week preparation on campus, under the familiar protocols they will have used all season," Hancock said. "This is an unfortunate consequence of the pandemic, but it is the right thing to do."
The rest of the CFP remains intact … at least for now. The Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will each host a national semifinal on Jan. 1, 2021. The College Football Playoff National Championship will take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Jan. 11.