Nick Saban has tested positive for Covid-19.
The announcement from Alabama came just before 6:00 PM this evening, and it included the news that Greg Byrne also tested positive for the virus.
With that news comes a lot of questions about how Saturday’s Georgia versus Alabama game is going to look. Looking past this weekend, it’s fair to wonder what the recent rash of positive cases throughout the SEC is going to mean for the rest of the college football season.
A two-week pause may be coming down the pipe, and it’s hard to argue that it wouldn’t be the best way to get the SEC’s teams Covid free and at full strength for the league’s stretch run.
While this news will certainly send shockwaves and produce broad sweeping reactions throughout the college football landscape, for now there’s still a football game to be played on Saturday night.
That game is between second ranked Alabama and third ranked Georgia, and it carries massive implications for not just the SEC and national title race, but serves as a measuring stick for how Kirby Smart’s Georgia program sizes up to the program that has been college football’s gold standard for the last dozen years.
What involvement, if any, Saban will have during the game remains unknown. A statement released by the Alabama athletic department explained that Saban left the Crimson Tide’s football facility early this afternoon upon finding out he had tested positive. The coach then helped conduct Alabama’s practice from home on Wednesday evening.
Statement from UA re: Saban and Byrne pic.twitter.com/um9gPuCl8a— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) October 14, 2020
For now, former USC head coach and Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will oversee the preparations for the game, leaving us to ask how Georgia sports it would be to get beat by a failed Falcons assistant, and why Butch Jones couldn’t have filled in for Saban instead.
All joking aside, the question remains of whether or not we will see a wave of positives in the Alabama football program between now and Saturday that will cause the game to be postponed. If that happens Georgia and Alabama could actually find themselves playing twice in two weeks, the first game coming on the SEC’s scheduled bye week of December 12th and the second in the SEC Championship on December 19th.
Now all we can do is wait for the next domino to fall, and send all of our best wishes and prayers to Coach Saban and Greg Byrne.