Happy Friday, everyone. All of the news today surrounds the SEC’s scheduling decision, so let’s get to it. First, unlike the ACC this season, there will be divisions.
Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin confirmed the SEC will keep its division format and the eight teams that are currently scheduled, and that the league is still determining the two additional teams. Sources told ESPN that one proposal heavily discussed is to add each school’s cross-divisional rotating opponents for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Another proposal being considered, sources said, would be for the league to devise a ranking system based on strength of schedule and add the two additional league games based on that system. Any plan must be approved by athletic directors.
It will be interesting to see what that looks like. It’s probably no coincidence that they got a quote from Florida’s AD since, based on the former proposal, the Gators stood to add Alabama and Texas A&M to a slate that already features LSU, while Georgia added Mississippi State and Arkansas. Something tells me he had a hand in proposing that equal strength of schedule should be a goal.
Pat Forde notes that the ACC intentionally wanted the SEC to have to cancel the championship games.
Now that SEC news is official -- this is why ACC got ahead of the news and effectively painted SEC as the "bad guy" in terms of not playing rivalry games.— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) July 30, 2020
Tony Barnhart has some more insight on that decision.
Disappointed that SEC could not save the non-conference state rivalry games but once the decision was made to start Sept. 26 there were only 12 Saturdays to get in 10 conference games. ACC starts almost three weeks earlier.— Tony Barnhart (@MrCFB) July 31, 2020
Makes sense. Why the SEC felt the need to push the season back and the ACC did not is another matter, considering the footprint overlap between the two.
So, since we are doing conference only, this is relevant.
Now that the SEC is going to a conference only schedule here again is every returning Head Coaches record vs the SEC... pic.twitter.com/M0nneRvFW7— Saturday Down South (@SDS) July 31, 2020
That number is a cool 88.5% since 2008.
So, whither the playoff?
“Since there won’t be as many nonconference games as normal, certain tools used by the committee, such as head-to-head results and results against common opponents, will have limitations this year,” Hancock said. “Evaluating strength of schedule will also be different.
“I don’t see the potential difference in the number of games teams play as a significant factor. Fact is, the committee has dealt successfully with that nearly every season.”
As of now, they are planning to have one it seems, and if there are no non-conference games, expect fireworks.
Alabama sent out a letter yesterday warning season-ticket holders of likely reduced capacity.
“If for some reason there is the need to incorporate social distancing at Bryant-Denny Stadium and greatly reduce capacity this fall, we would have to create some type of system that would give hopefully as many people as possible the opportunity to be here and be a part of it,” a statement from UA to AL.com in mid-June read. “This has been one of our objectives as we are working through potential strategies. There are some different models we have started looking at, however our hope is not to have to use those models.”
Last, somebody died.
Alabama Crimson Tide football fan Harvey Updyke has died. Updyke famously poisoned the trees at Toomer’s Corner on the Auburn University campus.
According to AL.com, Updyke’s son, Bear, said that his father died Thursday afternoon. He died of natural causes in Louisiana. He was 71 years old.
That’s all I have to say about that.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.