mcloudy.png
Friday August 14th, 2020 8:01AM

SEC goes to conference-only schedule, Sept. 26 start

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

The powerhouse Southeastern Conference reconfigured its schedule Thursday to include only league games in 2020, a pandemic-forced decision that pushes major college football closer to a siloed regular season in which none of the power conferences cross paths.

The SEC's university presidents agreed on a 10-game schedule that eliminates all nonconference opponents and begins Sept. 26. The SEC championship game, originally scheduled for Dec. 5, will be pushed back to Dec. 19, 13 days before the College Football Playoff semifinals are scheduled to be played on New Year's Day.

While some scheduling plans are still to be sorted out among Power Five conferences, it is growing more likely this season's playoff teams — if there is a playoff — will be selected without the aid of nonconference games involving Power Five teams.

Each SEC team will have a midseason off week in this odd, truncated season and Dec. 12 will be an off week for the entire conference. The delayed start for the Southeastern Conference is two weeks later than what the Atlantic Coast Conference set for itself Wednesday, and creates 12 weeks to get in 10 games and determine participants for the SEC title game in Atlanta.

The regular season was originally scheduled to begin on Labor Day weekend, but there was concern among SEC officials the return of students to campus in the coming weeks will spike COVID-19 cases. Conference officials believe delaying the start of the season improves the SEC's chances to launch.

“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,” Commissioner Greg Sankey said.

A schedule with new matchups still must be approved by athletic directors and will be announced later. The 14 SEC teams normally play eight conference games and four nonconference games, with seven teams in each division. The SEC is keeping its divisional format and each team will add two cross-divisional games.

“Some feathers may be ruffled, but gotta do what’s best for SEC,” Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek said.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already announced plans to play only conference games. The ACC on Wednesday announced a reworked 11-game schedule that left room for one nonconference game and made famously independent Notre Dame a member of a league for the first time in the 133-year history of Fighting Irish football.

The ACC wanted to allow four of its schools to maintain in-state rivalry games with SEC schools, but now Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State, Clemson-South Carolina and Kentucky-Louisville have been canceled.

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said he lobbied to keep the game with the Seminoles.

"We ran out of Saturdays,” he said.

Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart said: “I fully support the SEC’s decision to move to conference-only games, though we are disappointed we won’t have the chance to compete with Louisville for the Governor’s Cup this season."

The SEC's decision puts all ACC nonconference games in doubt. The ACC had stipulated it would only allow its schools to play in their home states against non-ACC teams.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 have yet to reveal detailed schedules, but both could come as soon as Friday. They are expected to start after Labor Day and likely land on a 10-game model.

Big 12 officials were holding out hope their 10 members would be able to play nonconference games, but options are dwindling. The SEC's decision cancels LSU's home game against Texas and Tennessee's scheduled trip to Oklahoma in September.

Big 12 athletic directors are expected to meet Monday and could have a decision on a schedule then. The conference could try to keep some of its games against non-Power Five schools. Currently, Kansas (against Southern Illinois) and Oklahoma (against Missouri State) are slated to play Aug. 29.

The SEC's move inward is yet another blow to Group of Five schools and those in the second tier of Division I football known as FCS. The SEC was scheduled to play three dozen home games against those schools, paying out millions of dollars that help keep programs running.

The SEC was set to pay about $36 million to Group of Five schools like South Alabama and Kent State, and another several million to FCS schools this season for providing a break from playing in the toughest conference in the country.

The SEC has produced 10 of the last 14 national champions and never missed the College Football Playoff, but coaches from other conferences often complain about the league playing only eight conferences games while others play nine.

“Playing 10 SEC games is going to be unique and different and it’s going to be a challenge," Stricklin said.

During a 24-hour span in college football, Notre Dame football joined a conference and SEC teams decided they would play more games against each other.

If the pandemic relents and the 2020 season can be played, it might be the oddest in the history of college football.

___

AP Sports Writer John Zenor in Montgomery, Alabama, contributed to this report.

___

Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, College Sports, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - College Football
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Wall Street slides, but tech strength helps avert a big loss
Most of Wall Street stumbled Thursday, but yet another rise for big technology stocks helped keep the market’s losses in check
5:09PM ( 8 minutes ago )
2nd US virus surge hits plateau, but few experts celebrate
While deaths are mounting rapidly in the U.S., the nation's second surge in coronavirus cases appears to be leveling off
5:05PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Amid the pandemic, Big Tech reports mixed earnings
Big Tech companies reported mixed quarterly earnings on Thursday, a day after their top executives faced a tough congressional grilling over their market power and alleged monopolistic practices
5:02PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Blue Jays manager: Series at Phillies off because of virus
Toronto Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo says his team’s series at Philadelphia scheduled for this weekend was postponed because of concerns about the coronavirus after two Phillies staffers tested positive
4:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
Sergio Perez out of Formula One British GP with coronavirus
Formula One driver Sergio Perez is out of Sunday’s British Grand Prix after testing positive for the coronavirus
3:30PM ( 1 hour ago )
F1's pandemic pause spurs Hamilton to race on for 2-3 years
The pandemic-enforced break from Formula One could prolong Lewis Hamilton’s career
3:29PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
The Latest: Bledsoe, Connaughton out of Friday's Bucks game
Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer says guards Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton won’t play Friday against the Boston Celtics after both players arrived late to Florida because they had tested positive for the novel coronavirus
12:57PM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Dolphins rookie Malcolm Perry donate plasma
Running back Malcolm Perry is among several Miami Dolphins players who have donated convalescent plasma after recovering from COVID-19
12:33PM ( 4 hours ago )
ACC schedule includes Notre Dame, 10 conference games
Notre Dame will play in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season as part of a plan to play 10 league games and start the week of Sept. 7
9:38PM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Online Football
The Latest: Chiefs RB Damien Williams opts out
Kansas City running back Damien Williams is opting out of playing in the upcoming season
5:27PM ( 23 hours ago )
The Latest: Star Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley won't play
Star cornerback Caleb Farley says he will not play for Virginia Tech this season because of health concerns and will focus instead on preparing for next year's NFL draft
5:14PM ( 1 day ago )
Finance firm founder gets 6 months in college bribery scam
The founder of a Silicon Valley venture capital firm has been sentenced to six months behind bars for paying about $450,000 in bribes to boost his two daughters’ entrance exam scores and get one of them into Georgetown University as a bogus tennis recruit
5:01PM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
At Lewis funeral, Obama calls for renewing Voting Rights Act
Former President Barack Obama has used Rep. John Lewis’ funeral to issue a stark warning that the voting rights and equal opportunity the late civil rights icon championed are under increasing threat heading into the 2020 election
4:27PM ( 51 minutes ago )
Former GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain dies of COVID-19
Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain has died after battling the coronavirus
3:58PM ( 1 hour ago )
Record surge in daily shipping volumes for UPS in 2Q
The pandemic-fueled boom in online shopping shows no signs of slowing down, providing more business for delivery companies like United Parcel Service Inc. UPS reported a second-quarter profit of $1.77 billion with the pandemic fueling a 21% surge in daily shipping volume, the largest quarterly increase ever recorded by the company
12:34PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
The Latest: Texas has zero active coronavirus infections
Texas has no active coronavirus infections on the football team or among the volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball team players on campus
7:21PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Arizona suspends player for breaking virus rules
Arizona has suspended junior offensive lineman Edgar Burrola for violating school coronavirus protocols
6:55PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Browns to showcase training camp online
The Cleveland Browns are doing all they can to give their fans a look at their training camp, which is closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic
6:16PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - College Football
Wall Street slides, but tech strength helps avert a big loss
Most of Wall Street stumbled Thursday, but yet another rise for big technology stocks helped keep the market’s losses in check
5:09PM ( 9 minutes ago )
2nd US virus surge hits plateau, but few experts celebrate
While deaths are mounting rapidly in the U.S., the nation's second surge in coronavirus cases appears to be leveling off
5:05PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Amid the pandemic, Big Tech reports mixed earnings
Big Tech companies reported mixed quarterly earnings on Thursday, a day after their top executives faced a tough congressional grilling over their market power and alleged monopolistic practices
5:02PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Trump nominee hearing pulled after furor over Islam remarks
A Senate committee has canceled a confirmation hearing on a controversial former general’s nomination to a top Pentagon post
5:01PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Congress awards its highest honor to USS Indianapolis crew
Congress has awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, its highest honor, to surviving crew members of the USS Indianapolis
4:55PM ( 23 minutes ago )