Another seismic wave washed over college football yesterday, as the SEC announced they would go to a 10-game, conference-only schedule. Implications? Yeah, just a few. In what’s become a common theme to our articles over these past few days, let’s break down everything we know.
SEC’s New Schedule
The SEC – much like the ACC – will be shifting to a ten-game schedule, adding two games to each team’s conference slate. However, unlike the ACC, the SEC will not be including non-conference games. The Alabama-USC was finally officially cancelled yesterday, and other marquee out-of-conference games like LSU-Texas and Auburn-UNC went down the drain as well. The new schedule will commence September 26th. New games have been leaked, but no formal schedule has been announced.
Florida may have gotten the toughest draw, adding in a clash with Alabama and a road trip to Texas A&M. Meanwhile, arch SEC East rival Georgia added games against Mississippi State and Arkansas, so safe to say that Georgia just became the clear favorites for their fourth straight division title.
Implications on the ACC
The implications for the ACC are that the “+1” of their “10 games +1” scheduling model just became a lot more unclear. It seemed that the initial idea behind the ACC’s announcement was to keep their rivalry weekend clashes with the SEC alive. But via the SEC’s announcement, Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Kentucky-Louisville, and Florida-Florida State will no longer happen, leaving the ACC starting from scratch with this announcement. The ACC will either scramble for independent and Group of 5 programs to fill out the schedule, or roll-back their initial announcement and go to conference only to match the SEC, Pac-12, and Big 10.
Implications on the Big 12
The Big 12 were massive losers from yesterday’s changes, as the Big 12 now is the only Power-5 conference remaining that hasn’t updated their schedule. An optimistic Big 12 fan may suggest they could go with a full conference round robin (9 games) and then match-up with the ACC for non-conference battles. That seems pretty unlikely, as it would require scheduling games that were never on the docket, and, outside of West Virginia, there’s no geographical convenience to these games. The Big 12 has said they will update their status on August 3rd, but with only 10 teams in their conference, it will be difficult for them to match the 10-game schedule put together by every other conference. This could leave the Big 12, already dealing with a bad reputation in the College Football Playoff, on the outside looking in, if no expanded playoff format is adopted for 2020. There’s no clean format for the Big 12 to try out that doesn’t involve a repeat conference opponent. Expect a 9-game conference season, with a delayed announcement about conference games, as the Big 12 will likely try to keep some of their Group of 5 and Independent opponents on the schedule, in order to play at least 10 games.