SEC Football Adopts 10-Game Schedule, Delays Season to Late September 2020

One day after the Atlantic Coast Conference adopted a 10-game conference schedule for its football teams in 2020, the Southeastern Conference followed suit.

The SEC not only will hold a 10-game conference schedule, it will delay its season by three weeks. The SEC will now begin its season on Sept. 26. The SEC title game is now scheduled for Dec. 19.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the new schedule was "the best course" to play out the 2020 conference season.

"After careful consideration of the public health indicators in our region and following advice of our medical advisors, we have determined that this is the best course of action to prepare for a safe and healthy return to competition for SEC student-athletes, coaches and others associated with our sports programs," Sankey said.

College sports were canceled indefinitely last March after the beginning spread of COVID-19. The NCAA canceled the March Madness basketball tournaments, the College World Series and all winer and spring sports. The next big question was whether or not fall sports would be affected—most notably, football.

The SEC news broke Thursday by Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger.

The Southeastern Conference is widely considered the premier football conference in America. LSU won last year's national championship and Alabama lost the national title the previous season. Following the 2017 season, Alabama beat Georgia in overtime of the national championship—the first time two teams from the same conference met in the title game of the current College Football Playoff (CFP) system.

The SEC is divided into two, separate, seven-team divisions, with each division winner playing in the conference championship game. SEC teams typically play eight conference games—six in their division and two from the opposite division. Each team in 2020 will play two additional games against opponents from the other division this season.

Sankey said the schedule adjustment was the best opportunity for the league to play a full schedule without any unexpected non-conference hiccups.

"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," Sankey said. "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."

SEC Football
General view of the SEC logo on a yard line marker during the game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Missouri Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 13, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama won 39-10. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The ACC's schedule included the addition of Notre Dame to a 15-team, one-division format. Each ACC team will play 10 conference games plus one non-conference game of its choosing, but each non-conference game must be played within the home state of each school, and within local medical guidelines.

The SEC will only play 10 conference games, and all non-conference games will be canceled this season. That means the following non-conference games scheduled for 2020 will not be played:

Alabama-USC*
LSU-Texas
Clemson-South Carolina
Georgia-Georgia Tech
Arkansas-Notre Dame
Ole Miss-Baylor
Florida-Florida State
Mississippi State-North Carolina State
Texas A&M-Colorado*
Georgia-Virginia*
Auburn-North Carolina*

* Game previously canceled because Pac 12 or ACC schedule conflicts

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

SEC Football Adopts 10-Game Schedule, Delays Season to Late September 2020 | Sports