The idea of a conference only football season has been trending around the power five conference leagues for a few weeks now, and Ross Dellenger at Sports Illustrated reported yesterday the SEC was strongly considering moving that way.
The Southeastern Conference has established September 26 as the new kickoff for it 2020 football season to allow its universities to focus on the healthy return of its campus communities and the gradual re-introduction of athletics, as the 14 members of the SEC continue to monitor developments related to COVID-19, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced Thursday.
The 2020 SEC football schedule will be comprised of a 10-game Conference-only schedule and the SEC Football Championship Game will be played December 19 at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, rescheduled from the original date of December 5.
“This new plan for a football schedule is consistent with the educational goals of our universities to allow for the safe and orderly return to campus of their student populations and to provide a healthy learning environment during these unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 virus,” Sankey said. ”This new schedule supports the safety measures that are being taken by each of our institutions to ensure the health of our campus communities.”
We were nearing around four weeks left of the offseason for some and five weeks for Mizzou, with their scheduled start date of September 5th against Central Arkansas. But that game is off, as well as scheduled contests against Eastern Michigan (Sep 26), BYU (Oct 10), and U-Louisiana (Nov 21). In its place will be a September 26th start date against an SEC opponent yet to be named. Very obviously the schedule will have to be reconfigured to make the dates work.
What is most likely is Missouri will keep its matchups against divisional opponents (Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, South Carolina), plus their cross-division rival (Arkansas), and add three additional games. It’s possible they could keep the previously scheduled cross-divisional opponent (Mississippi State) in place, and simply add two games from the rest of the pool, with the next two opponents in the rotation standing in for what makes the most sense. That would match Missouri against Auburn and Texas A&M.
Obviously missing Alabama and LSU would probably be completely fine for Coach Drinkwitz in his inaugural season. Coach Drink added this in a released statement:
“This year has been unique in many ways, and is teaching us to embrace new challenges as opportunities! #NewZou has a core value of “always compete” and we look forward to the challenge of an all-SEC schedule to do just that! We will be ready Sept. 26th!
Dellenger made a good point on twitter regarding the buy games scheduled and the volume of money being lost out on:
Important: With SEC going conference-only, some schools may find it easier to get out of “buy game” contracts.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 30, 2020
In some SEC contracts, a change from the conference in "scheduling format" could provide an out.
In 2017, SEC teams paid out $45M in buy gameshttps://t.co/XjpJx062ba
Buy games to a lot to boost the athletic departments of small schools. So this means BYU, Eastern Michigan, Central Arkansas, and Louisiana are all missing out on an as yet unknown amount of money. It’s going to be really interesting to see this all play out in financial terms, but sticking to just the sports side, this could lead to a really exciting fall.