Report: SEC Adopting Conference-Only, 10-Game Schedule, Sept. 26 Start Date
The SEC is set to play on a 10-game conference-only schedule, according to a report from Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger.
"Presidents from the nation’s premier college football conference adopted a plan to play a 10-game, conference-only schedule this fall, sources told Sports Illustrated on Thursday," writes Dellenger.
"The league will kick off the season Sept. 26, three weeks later than the scheduled Labor Day weekend start."
This decision effectively eliminates the possibility of the team playing in-state rival Florida State.
“It makes a lot of sense for us to try and play FSU assuming we’re on the same page from a testing protocol standpoint and logistics can be worked out," said Gators AD Scott Stricklin earlier this month. "Depending on where this thing ends up, it might be out of our hands, but I know that’s something that’s really important to us and I’ve talked to (FSU athletic director) David Coburn and he feels the same way. That’s a good game for the state."
It appears the decision will be out of his hands. It will be the first time since 1958 the two teams do not meet.
The ACC announced yesterday its own plan to move to a conference-only + 1 in-state game yesterday, however, it appears FSU will have to look for another partner no matter how badly each athletic director wanted the game to occur.
"While the SEC’s divisional structure is expected to remain the same—winners of two seven-team divisions playing in a Dec. 19 championship game—league teams will play two more opponents from their opposite division," Dellenger says in his report.
The Gators have plenty of options to choose from, the opportunity to play Alabama and Texas A&M this season would not come as a surprise. Such a change would make the team's schedule exceedingly tougher, however, it appears they will not have much choice as they're already scheduled to play, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, LSU, Ole Miss, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Missouri.
According to the university on social media, Florida will announce its full new schedule at a later date.
The SEC championship game was originally scheduled for around early December, however with a late start - from Sept. 5 to Sept. 26 -, the SEC will have to make some adjustments in that matter.
This change will also eliminate the "buy-in" games against lower divisional opponents Eastern Washington, South Alabama and New Mexico State. Typically those teams are paid in excess of $1M to play bigger competition.
With the SEC moving to conference-only play amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they join the Pac-12 and Big Ten as the two conferences to move in that direction completely