BIRMINGHAM, AL. (WLOX) - Following the Atlantic Coast Conference’s decision to have an 11-game schedule Thursday, the Southeastern Conference’s long-awaited decision was announced as they move to a conference-only schedule for the 2020 football season.
University presidents from all 14 teams agreed to a 10-game schedule after their Zoom meeting this afternoon with Sankey and have pushed the season back three weeks, starting on September 26th.
Each team will have a midseason bye week and on December 12th, the entire conference will be off. The SEC championship game, that was scheduled for December fifth, will now take place on December 19th.
The move eliminates traditional in-state rivalries such as Florida versus Florida State and Clemson versus South Carolina as well as marquee matchups like LSU versus Texas and Tennessee versus Oklahoma.
Commissioner Sankey gave a statement after the news broke, saying “We believe these schedule adjustments offer the best opportunity to complete a full season by giving us the ability to adapt to the fluid nature of the virus and the flexibility to adjust schedules as necessary if disruptions occur. It is regrettable that some of our traditional non-conference rivalries cannot take place in 2020 under this plan, but these are unique, and hopefully temporary, circumstances that call for unconventional measures.”
Sankey also stated that this plan would allow a safer return to campus for athletes among the rest of the student body.
Four non-conference games have been eliminated from Mississippi State and Ole Miss’s upcoming seasons. For the Bulldogs, they will no longer open the season against New Mexico, travel to NC State in Week 2, play Tulane in Week 3 and host Alabama A&M before the Egg Bowl. The Rebels cancel their season opener against Baylor in Houston, first home game versus Southeast Missouri State, Connecticut, and Georgia Southern. These changes will undoubtedly affect their win totals.
Updated schedules for all SEC teams will be announced at a later date.
This also changes things for Southern Miss as the Golden Eagles were set to travel to Auburn on September 26th. That now eliminates two of USM’s 12 games this season as their game against Jackson State in Week 3 was taken away due to the SWAC electing to play football in the spring.
USM athletic director, Jeremy McClain said that he is disappointed for the players and fans that the game will not happen, but they will find a quality opponent to fill the gap.
SEC’s official press release can be seen here: https://www.secsports.com/article/29565989/sec-establishes-new-conference-only-football-start-date