Question: How do you fill out a 7-team, 6-game schedule, spread out over 10 weeks, without it coming out really weird?
Answer: You don't.
The Southland Conference on Tuesday unveiled its full spring 2021 schedule, becoming -- unless I've missed someone, which is entirely possible -- the second FCS conference to do so, following the SWAC, who broke the ice back on Aug. 17.
But unlike the SWAC, the Southland has a lot of holes to fill. This 11-member conference will compete as a 7-team league in the spring after Abilene Christian, Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist and Stephen F. Austin chose to go it alone this fall.
The result is this: a regular season that begins Feb. 20 and ends April 17, with lots of gaps in between.
McNeese, Nicholls and Southeastern Louisiana will have idle weeks in Week 1, and no one will play at all on April 17 -- giving teams three off weeks sprinkled among six game weeks.
As a result, Lamar will play only one game after March 20, and Incarnate Word will play just three times over the season's final six weeks.
The idle weeks are logistical necessities that double as failsafes in the event games get moved around, as has been the case throughout the fall season. Though, hopefully, by the the spring there will be medical advances -- either on the testing front, the vaccine front, or both -- that testing and the requisite contact tracing that has so tripped up the FBS level will be unnecessary.
That's certainly what the Southland banked on by pushing its season back in the first place.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.