SEC presidents are considering a 10-game conference-only schedule for this season, according to a report from Sports Illustrated‘s Ross Dellenger.
The plan would put the SEC in line with the Big Ten and Pac-12 but, most interestingly, put the conference at odds with frenemy ACC.
The ACC announced Wednesday — to the apparent surprise of their own member schools — it would play a 10-game league schedule plus one non-conference game that “must be played in the home state of the ACC institution.”
This move put the onus on the SEC to play or cancel important rivalry games that are important to both conferences: Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, South Carolina-Clemson and Kentucky-Louisville.
A conference-only plan would also cancel marquee non-conference games like Texas at LSU, Tennessee at Oklahoma, Ole Miss vs. Baylor and Arkansas at Notre Dame. To date, the Big 12 is the only conference that hasn’t officially or unofficially signaled plans to alter its schedule; this week, Iowa State added a game with Ball State for Sept. 12.
A conference-only schedule, however, has emerged as a potential best option, even though all league administrators are not necessarily in agreement. A conference-only slate allows for flexibility and for all games to feature a uniform testing protocol. The number of games, 10, is seen by many in college football as a potential minimum requirement to compete in the College Football Playoff this year, though that number is likely to fluctuate according to the impacts of the virus.
The SEC traditionally plays an 8-game league schedule, so increasing that to 10 would have an undeniable and unavoidable affect on the SEC championship race (assuming, of course, there is one). While the league office would, of course, try to avoid putting its thumb on the scale of the two division races, take a peek at this potential schedule Dellenger tweeted last night.
Three-time defending East Division champion Georgia would get Arkansas and Mississippi State — projected to finish at the bottom of the West standings — while Florida, who enters 2020 planning to overtake Georgia and compete for a Playoff berth, would get Alabama and Texas A&M.
If SEC prezs vote conference-only, 2 additional SEC games could be the next 2 in each team's rotation.
BAMA: UF, VU
AU: SC, MU
ARK: UG, SC
LSU: UK, UT
MSU: VU, UG
OM: UT, UK
TAMU: MU, UF
UF: BAMA, TAMU
UG: ARK, MSU
UK: LSU, OM
MU: TAMU, AU
SC: AU, ARK
UT: OM, LSU
VU: MSU, BAMA
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 29, 2020
A decision on the SEC schedule could come as soon as today.
In the meantime, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.