Much like the entire year it falls within, the 2020 College Football season is on a continued sprint off the beaten path. It started leaving its usual track on July 10th when the Big Ten made the decision to go to a conference-only schedule. It went further away from normal when the Pac-12 decided to follow suit a day later, and even stranger when the league announced last week that they will play a ten game schedule of only league games that kicks off on September 19th. Knowing that their could be numerous delays in a season being played in the midst of a pandemic, the league took a practical approach and booked the new Las Vegas Raiders stadium for three different weekends in December.
Yesterday, the ACC came to a decision on how they’ll approach the upcoming season. The plan is an eleven game season with ten conference games and one out of conference game. The league is also requiring that those out of conference games be played against schools that reside within the home state of the ACC member they’re playing. The ACC’s decision forced the cancellation of Georgia’s opener against Virginia, originally scheduled for Labor Day night.
Scheduling D-Day is coming in the SEC too. It might come as soon as today, and sources are predicting that we will get a schedule by next week at the latest. Over the last month there has been a lot of speculation and rumors about how the SEC’s schedule will look In 2020. The conference’s athletic directors met today, and someone inside that room reported to Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger that the conference looks to be leaning towards a ten game conference-only schedule.
NEWS: The #SEC is moving closer to a conference-only 10-game schedule, sources tell @SINow.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 29, 2020
ADs agreed on the matter Wednesday and presidents are expected to meet Thursday, though they may delay a decision until next week.
This is a fluid situation. https://t.co/er591whOF0
LET’S GET WEIRD, Y’ALL.
Yeah, it will be strange to lose some cupcake games at home. It will be odd to have zero or few fans in the stands, but the action on the field could produce one of the most fun college football seasons of our lives.
Disagree? Well hear me out real quick.
First of all, there’s a difference between liking what is causing these changes and liking the randomness of what college football is about to do. Covid-19 has ruined plenty in my life, and I am among the lucky ones. It is also been a lesson on the limits of my control. I have learned to find gratitude within each day.
If you are like me, you love college football because it is a bizarre sport that is spiced by regional quirks, eccentricities and emotions. Change has always happened slow in our sport, and that is both a feature and a flaw. Now, all of a sudden, a sport that schedules games a decade in advance is playing a giant game of Fifty-Two Pickup six weeks before kickoff.
One of the best things about college football is the novelty that exists within it. If you watch enough games in a season, you’re likely to witness something every year that hasn’t happened before. Our sport is where the “Kick-Six” happened, we saw the “Between The Hoses” game, we watched Boise State win a Fiesta Bowl on two of the most preposterous plays ever and THE BAND IS ON THE FIELD. Sometimes games actually end three different times because the fans were a little too eager to celebrate on the logo.
At this moment, College Football is in the middle of something we will (I hope to God) never see again. Our Bulldogs might not play Georgia Tech this year. Then again, we might play them the very first game of the season. If we don’t play at all, the nerds will be deprived of the biggest television and recruiting stage of their year. That sounds delightful to me, but others will be saddened by the breaking of tradition. Regardless of opinion, I have no clue what’s going to happen. That’s kinda fun!
If you like things to go according to an orderly script you should have realized this sport isn’t for you a long time ago. Especially if the Georgia Bulldogs happen to be the team that fate caused you to attach emotions to.
If you asked any honest College Football fan a year ago whether a season with ten SEC conference games sounded entertaining to them, they would have said yes. Our game is the greatest because it has the most important regular season of any sport. This year’s games will carry more weight than ever, and we will have more meaningful games each Saturday than we ever have. I can’t wait to lock into them for 14 hours straight.
Proud Notre Dame, the school who has annoyingly lauded its independence for its entire existence, is playing in the ACC this season. If they win enough, they might be playing for the ACC title. They also have to share all of that precious NBC revenue with all 14 ACC schools. That’s hilarious!
If you aren’t fully in on how fun this season could be yet, let me present you with the best reason you should be.
If the SEC Presidents vote in favor of the league playing a ten game conference schedule in the next few days, the extra two opponents on each team’s schedule is likely to be determined by which two teams are next on the cross-division rotation for each team. This is how the new schedule would look.
If SEC prezs vote conference-only, 2 additional SEC games could be the next 2 in each team's rotation.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 29, 2020
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
That’s right, Georgia would draw Arkansas and Mississippi State to go with permanent rival Auburn and the team who was already scheduled to be the Bulldog’s 2020 cross-division opponent in the rotation, Alabama. While a Mike Leach team is never fun to prepare for, Mississippi State and Arkansas are the two teams in the SEC West that you would most want added to your schedule.
That’s great for Georgia’s title hopes in 2020, but you know what’s even better?
For their two extra conference games, Florida would draw Alabama and Texas A&M. Alabama would obviously be a heavy favorite over the Gators, and a Senior-laden A&M team would be a tough task for Florida. The Gators would add those two games to a slate that already includes LSU and a Ole Miss team that you just know is going to upset someone in Lane Kiffin’s first year at the helm.
Many pundits have picked Florida to win the SEC East this off-season because Georgia has Alabama and Auburn out of the West while the Gators were looking at LSU and Ole Miss. Adding Texas A&M and Alabama to Florida’s schedule changes the equation a lot.***
I love college football for its wackiness. This season is going to be as whacky as any we have ever seen. We might as well lean into it. If you can’t get down with that idea then at least embrace the fact that these changes mean Georgia’s path to a fourth straight division title just got way easier.
I can’t believe I’m typing this about anything in the year 2020, but this could be a ton of fun.
It’s time to embrace the chaos.
Until later, Go Dawgs...
***And that’s before you even consider that Dan Mullen is a career 12-35 coach against the Top 25. Or that he has allowed Georgia to widen the talent gap between the schools every year since he’s arrived. Or that he is 0-11 against Kirby Smart without Urban Meyer as his boss and his teams have never scored more than 20 points in any of those contests. It’s also before you consider that Florida loses six of their top eight receivers from 2019 and will, at least early on, have to depend on a rushing attack that finished 117th nationally in 2019 and lost its starting running back in the off-season. Sorry, just had to point a few things out.