AP file photo / Alabama football coach Nick Saban's team is preparing for a big SEC matchup with Georgia. Both teams are 3-0 and ranked in the top three in the nation.

Updated with more information at 8 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2020.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban has received a negative result in a follow-up test for COVID-19, leaving open the possibility of a return to the sideline for the No. 2 Crimson Tide's home game against No. 3 Georgia on Saturday.

Alabama head athletic trainer Jeff Allen said Saban's test came back negative Thursday. If Saban tests negative again Friday and Saturday, he would be allowed on the sideline for the Southeastern Conference showdown between 3-0 teams.

Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Eastern in a game that will be televised by CBS.

Allen said the PCR test Thursday was conducted by the SEC-appointed lab. He said Wednesday's initial positive result came from an outside lab Alabama has "used to supplement the SEC mandated testing." The PCR test is considered the preferred method of testing for COVID-19 as identified by the NCAA's Resocialization of College Sports Guidelines.

"He will continue to remain in isolation and receive daily PCR tests," Allen said. "Should he have three negative PCR tests through the SEC appointed lab, each 24 hours apart, the initial test would be considered a false positive pursuant to SEC protocols and he would be allowed to return."

Allen said Saban has remained asymptomatic and hasn't had a fever, but unless the 68-year-old coach tests negative again both Friday and Saturday, he will not be at Bryant-Denny Stadium when the Bulldogs visit. If Saban isn't there, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will act as head coach.

Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne tested positive Wednesday. Saban has continued to work from home and even been able to relay messages during practice via team managers, but that would not be permitted during a game.


SEC updates schedule again

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The SEC postponed next week's game between Missouri and No. 10 Florida on Friday, the third league contest moved this week because of COVID-19 outbreaks.

The Gators had at least 21 players and coaches test positive for the coronavirus and dozens more quarantined because of contract tracing. That left them with fewer than the conference-mandated 53 scholarship players available Saturday against reigning national champion LSU.

Because of the SEC's safety protocols, Florida likely would not have gotten everyone back in time to practice and prepare for Missouri. So the Gators will get consecutive weeks off before hosting Missouri on Oct. 31. That had initially been an off week for coach Dan Mullen's team.

Missouri had been scheduled to host Kentucky that day, but the Tigers will now play next Saturday, Oct. 24. Kentucky was scheduled to play at Georgia that day, but it moves to Oct. 31.

Florida and LSU are tentatively scheduled to play Dec. 12. Missouri and Vanderbilt are slated for the same day after their game this week got postponed because of an outbreak within Vandy's program.