Alabama vs. LSU game called off for Saturday

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The Alabama vs. LSU game will not be played on Saturday after a COVID-19 outbreak at LSU, the school announced on Tuesday. LSU said the game would be looked at for a potential make up date, though it was still unclear at this time if the game would be played at all this season.

LSU's built in bye week of December 12 has already been filled by the Florida Gators following the postponement of the game in October.

A source tells the Geaux247 staff that fewer than five players tested positive across the past week, but quarantined players through contact tracing has an already depleted LSU roster hanging dangerously close to the SEC's 53-man scholarship limit to play a game.

On Monday, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron revealed some of his players tested positive for COVID-19, which has sidelined others who are now in quarantine as a result of contact tracing.

"We are dealing with COVID and contact tracing I can’t go into detail. It’s a very fluid situation," Orgeron said. "We do have some players who have COVID and have some players in quarantine."

The Tigers went through practice on Monday down scholarship players at a number of positions, with sources confirming the safety and tight end groups had been hit hard with players in quarantine. It's unclear at this stage if players are scheduled to finish their quarantine this week and become available for Saturday's game. Orgeron did confirm that starting quarterback Myles Brennan would not be available for the game, though his absence is injury related. True freshmen quarterbacks Max Johnson and TJ Finley are the lone two scholarship quarterbacks beyond Brennan, and Orgeron would not confirm nor deny if they were part of the quarantined players.

On Tuesday, Orgeron joined ESPN's Off the Bench with Jordy Culotta and T-Bob Hebert for his weekly radio spot, and he shared what he could about LSU's status.

"You know, (Director of Athletic Training Jack Marucci and Director of Athletic Training and Administration Micki Collins) are working on that," Orgeron said. "It is very fluid. It seems like it changes every six hours with who is going to be in quarantine and who is getting tested. It is very fluid right now. Not much has changed from (Monday), but I expect some more results today."

Earlier this week, Orgeron confirmed starters were part of the outbreak, but didn't confirm which players.

"Oh sure," Orgeron said. "With people in quarantine and with COVID, there will always be starters."

The outbreak began a week ago when LSU was on bye following a road loss at Auburn on Halloween, with the numbers now carrying over into the Alabama week.

"It started last week," Orgeron said. "Probably Tuesday or Wednesday, I was told of some guys who had COVID. And the numbers are high because of the quarantine. That’s when you get into the low (scholarship) numbers."

Alabama vs. LSU game called off for Saturday

It's the second LSU game that has been disrupted this season as a result of COVID-19 testing, with the Florida game being postponed to December 12 as a result of an outbreak in the Gators' program.

Ahead of the 2020 season, the Southeastern Conference released a guideline for teams and the required number of scholarship players needed for a conference matchup to take place.

SEC teams need to have at least 53 scholarship players available to participate in a game, including a quarterback, seven offensive linemen and four defensive linemen. That said, if a team can't meet the minimum requirements, or are under the 53-man scholarship threshold, the program could choose to play the game anyways. Otherwise, the game would be rescheduled or declared a no contest.

LSU and Alabama are both coming off a bye week, and LSU's built-in bye week on Dec. 12 has already been filled by the Gators as a result of the postponed game in October.

Orgeron also revealed that starting quarterback Myles Brennan had been ruled out for the Alabama game as he battles a linger lower body injury. Orgeron would not confirm if both true freshmen quarterbacks in TJ Finley and Max Johnson were available or part of the team's quarantined players.

Alabama entered the week as the nation's No. 1 team, and William Hill Sportsbook released the line for Saturday’s contest with the Tide favored by 23 points. On Monday morning, the line inched up to 24 points, via SportsLine. After Orgeron revealed LSU's low scholarship numbers, the line climbed to Alabama +28 in some spots.

The Crimson Tide (6-0, 6-0 SEC) jumped to the top spot in the AP and Coaches Top 25 Polls after Notre Dame knocked off top-ranked Clemson in double overtime on Saturday. Notre Dame moved up to No. 2 in both polls with Ohio State at No. 3, while Clemson dropped at No. 4.

LSU (2-3, 2-3 SEC) has been in survival mode all season, coming off the program’s worst loss since 1996 with a 48-11 setback at Auburn on Halloween. Low on roster numbers entering the season, Ed Orgeron’s program has been stung by key injuries each week, including quarterback Myles Brennan, and with multiple players having served suspensions, the Tigers have failed to find any sense of consistency.

One year ago, LSU ended Alabama’s eight-game winning streak in the series with a 46-41 victory in Tuscaloosa. The win cut the Crimson Tide’s lead in the series to 53-26-5 and gave the Tigers the program's first victory between the two since 2011.

Stay tuned to Geaux247 and 247Sports for more on this developing story.

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