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Anchor Drop, December 20, 2021: Cancellations are back

COVID is screwing with sports again.

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Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Good morning.

Optional Musical Accompaniment

With news pretty light this morning, well, let’s talk about COVID coming back with a vengeance to screw with sports schedules.

College basketball saw a whole bunch of games cancelled this weekend, as did the NBA and NHL. The NFL has yet to get hit with any outright cancellations, but they’ve had to push a couple of games back to Tuesday this week. The new omicron variant simply does not care if you are vaccinated, it seems, or else it’s exposing how many teams and leagues are simply lying about their vaccination rates.

Of interest, though, is the varying responses of the leagues. The NFL recently changed its protocol to drop weekly testing for vaccinated players and staff, unless they’re symptomatic. The NHL is going in the opposite direction: resuming daily testing and suspending games with cross-border travel. One is trying to finish the season at all costs; the other is inviting more and more postponements. (The NBA is going the middle ground of allowing replacement players.)

I really don’t know the answer here, because I understand both the arguments for testing asymptomatic, vaccinated players and staff and the arguments for not doing so. But this is all going to be worth watching. (One noteworthy thing here is that the NHL has a three-week break for the Olympics built into the schedule that they could simply scrap if they need it to make up games.)

In Vanderbilt sports news, the Hustler has a recap of the football team’s early signing class. The Tennessean has a guide to the schedule for the Diamond Head Classic, which Vanderbilt will play in starting Wednesday. Get ready for some super late night basketball, as both of Vanderbilt’s first two games in the tournament will tip off at 9 PM CT or later.

SEC Basketball Schedule and Picks

Season to date: 11-20 ATS, 21-10 totals

  • Western Carolina at Georgia (6:00 PM CT, SEC Network+): Georgia -12, Under 147


NFL: Bills 31, Panthers 14 ... Lions 30, Cardinals 12 ... Dolphins 31, Jets 24 ... Cowboys 21, Giants 6 ... Steelers 19, Titans 13 ... Texans 30, Jaguars 16 ... Bengals 15, Broncos 10 ... 49ers 31, Falcons 13 ... Packers 31, Ravens 30 ... Saints 9, Buccaneers 0.

NBA: Pistons 100, Heat 90 ... Trail Blazers 105, Grizzlies 100 ... Kings 121, Spurs 114 ... Bulls 115, Lakers 110 ... Timberwolves 111, Mavericks 105 ... Suns 137, Hornets 106.

NHL: Golden Knights 4, Islanders 3 ... Jets 4, Blues 2 ... Penguins 3, Devils 2 ... Kings 3, Capitals 2.