UPDATED 8/14/2020, 3:50 p.m.: Conference USA announced today that it’s championship game will be played on Friday, Dec. 18.
BOCA RATON – With Conference USA likely to move its championship game to Dec. 19, Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss are eyeing Dec. 12 as the likely makeup date for Saturday’s postponed game.
A COVID-19 outbreak at FAU late last week forced the postponement of the Owls’ game at Southern Miss. The two schools lack a common bye week – the Owls are currently in the midst of their final remaining off week – so moving the Conference USA title game would give the two schools an opening to make up the game.
Next week Conference USA presidents are expected to approve moving the Conference USA championship game from Dec. 5 to Dec. 19.
Florida Atlantic has already rescheduled one game, it’s Sept. 19 contest at Georgia Southern, for Dec. 5, provided that the Owls haven’t reached the C-USA title game.
COVID-19 issues have prevented FAU from playing all but one game this season. Games at Minnesota and Stony Brook, the Owls first two scheduled opponents, were nixed before the season even started. A COVID outbreak at FAU the week of the Georgia Southern game forced the postponement of that contest.
The following week’s game against South Florida was postponed after the Bulls conducted contract tracing following an outbreak at Notre Dame, their previous week’s opponent.
The American Association is also expected to move its conference championship game from Dec. 5 to later in the month, potentially freeing Dec. 19 for a makeup of the FAU vs. USF game provided the Owls and Bulls don’t reach their respective championship games.
Old Dominion elected not to play this season, canceling a late November contest with FAU.
The Owls are currently in the midst of battling another COVID outbreak. On Monday coach Willie Taggart announced that 18 players tested positive for the virus over the past week and approximately a dozen more were identified via contact tracing, prompting their quarantine. Additionally, nine members of the football staff tested positive, including defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt and co-offensive coordinator Clint Trickett.
“It is sad that it happened to us again,” Taggart said.
The next scheduled game for FAU is an Oct. 24 contest at Marshall. Despite the game still being 10 days away, the current outbreak and potential spread over the next few days casts doubt on whether that game will be played.