LSU-Alabama football: Circle Dec. 5 on calendar with LSU-Ole Miss likely moving to Dec. 19

Glenn Guilbeau
Lafayette Daily Advertiser
Nov 9, 2019; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. (6) carries for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

BATON ROUGE - Mark your calendar.

Dec. 5 is the most likely makeup date for the LSU-Alabama football game that was postponed from today due to COVID-19 issues amid the Tigers.

This is because the game can no longer be rescheduled for Nov. 21 as all Southeastern Conference games scheduled for that date as of now will not be moved to make room for previously postponed games, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said Friday.

The next game for LSU (2-3) is at Arkansas (3-3) on Nov. 21  at 11 a.m. The SEC office had been considering a move of the LSU-Alabama game to Nov. 21. 

That leaves the most likely LSU-Alabama makeup date to be Dec. 5 in Tiger Stadium as No. 1 Alabama (6-0) will be hosting in-state rival and No. 21 Auburn (4-2) on its other available date on Nov. 28. And the SEC is not expected to move that rivalry game likely slated for CBS.

LSU and Alabama last played as late as December in a calendar year on Dec. 8, 1928, with the Crimson Tide winning, 13-0, in Birmingham. There has been only one other December game. Alabama beat the Tigers, 11-0, on Dec. 1, 1904, in Baton Rouge.

"That one (Dec. 5) would be very, very logical to me," LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said of an LSU-Alabama rescheduling on 104.5 FM Radio in Baton Rouge on Thursday. "That makes practical sense, and the SEC is looking at it."

LSU is scheduled to host Ole Miss (2-4) at the moment on Dec. 5, while Alabama is scheduled to play at Arkansas on Dec. 5. The plan the SEC is working on has the Alabama-Arkansas game moving to Dec. 12, and the LSU-Ole Miss game switching to Dec. 19 - the day of the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta that neither team is expected to reach.

Alabama and No. 5 Florida (4-1) lead the SEC West and East, respectively. LSU has already filled its Dec. 12 date - designated by the SEC as COVID-19 makeup Saturday before the season - as it will play at Florida then. The LSU-Florida game was postponed from Oct. 17 because of a COVID-19 outbreak amid the Gators.

So, the Tigers could be previewing the SEC title game in a way by playing the favorites to be there back-to-back on December 5 and 12.

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"We could change games on Dec. 5," Woodward said. "The priorities of the league are obviously to get to a championship game, and then get the games in for our television partners as well. It's a multi-stepped dance."

The LSU-Alabama game had been scheduled for a 5 p.m. kickoff on CBS on Saturday. It would likely be the CBS game on Dec. 5. Woodward estimates LSU could lose as much as $6 million in revenue without its home game against Alabama.

"It has been a goal of the SEC to play a complete football schedule provided we maintain a healthy environment for student-athletes and everyone around our football programs," Sankey said. "The added flexibility of a December 19 playing date for teams that do not qualify for the SEC Football Championship, and the ability to adjust opponents on five-day notification provide a greater opportunity for our schools to play a full schedule of games in 2020."

On Friday, Sankey said Mondays at 8 p.m. is the deadline to change games scheduled for the next Saturday.

"The games subject to rescheduling would only be those on a team's original schedule and against opponents that a team has not yet played," a SEC release said.

Sankey has said he does not want to move the SEC title game from Dec. 19.

The Georgia-Missouri game that was scheduled for today has the same rescheduling issue of LSU-Alabama - a team without Dec. 12 open. Missouri is scheduled to play Vanderbilt on that date as that game's original date last month was postponed by COVID-19.

LSU has just the one home game against Ole Miss remaining unless Alabama is rescheduled.

The Tigers play at No. 6 Texas A&M (5-1) on Nov. 28 and could end up playing three top 10 teams back-to-back before Ole Miss with two on the road. The combined record of the Aggies, Crimson Tide and Gators is 15-2.

"Hoping to get people back in Tiger Stadium at least a couple more times with these makeup games," Woodward said.

Everything could change again, however, with more COVID-19-related postponements in the coming weeks as the pandemic is as bad now across the country as ever.

"We can change games, but the next couple of weeks could upset the applecart," Woodward said.