On July 9th the state of South Carolina seemed to explode. This time it wasn’t because of something Governor McMaster did or anything dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. This explosion was experienced when Clemson and South Carolina football fans found out that the two biggest football teams in the state may not get to play. At the time ACC was discussing conference only games due to the pandemic and a shortened season.
Today the ACC shared their plan and it allows for 10 conference games and one non-conference game. This would allow not only Clemson and South Carolina to continue their instate game that is the second longest consecutively played rivalry game in college football, but would also allow for other ACC/SEC rivalry games like Kentucky/Louisville, Georgia Tech/Georgia, and Florida/Florida State.
Now, according to multiple sources, it appears the SEC is moving closer to an agreement on a conference only schedule of 10 games. A majority of athletic directors approved the idea of an SEC only 10-game schedule.
With that said, the schedule still has to be ratified by league presidents. It is expected that the SEC presidents will meet virtually Thursday to seriously discuss the matter. It is still unclear if they will vote then or put the vote off until next week.
Three weeks ago, SEC athletic directors met in person in Birmingham. That meeting produced several potential plans for a 2020 season which included conference only schedules of 8–10 games, along with schedules that included eight conference games plus one, or two non conference games.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already announced their plans for conference only schedules while the ACC, Big 12, and SEC were working to attempt to preserve non-conference games among their schools. 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 being 10 is seen by many in college football as a potential minimum requirement to compete in the College Football Playoff this year, but keep in mind that this number could change according to the impacts of the pandemic.
The SEC’s decision, if it is conference only, will create a ripple effect that will extend to multiple levels. The ACC and Big 12 would lose a combined 13 games against the SEC.
The ACC announced its own schedule model today and it allows for one non-conference game. Many expected the Tigers non-conference game to be the season ending rivalry game with the Gamecocks. All of college football could play a shortened season that features conference games only.
All eyes will now be on the SEC as they make the decision of the year. It will give everyone a little more of an idea of which way the season is going to be played out.