The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach dropped some pretty big news on Friday afternoon.
According to Auerbach, the Big 10 is planning to move to a conference-only schedule in 2020 (due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic).
The Big Ten is expected to announce today that it will go with a conference-only football schedule for this fall, a person with direct knowledge situation tells @TheAthleticCFB.
— Nicole Auerbach 😷 (@NicoleAuerbach) July 9, 2020
Once this sort of move happens, it usually isn’t long before dominoes start falling and other conferences start following.
For now, we have no indication that the SEC plans to go to a conference-only schedule, but it’s certainly a possibility.
And if the SEC decides to move to a conference-only schedule, they’ll likely follow the Big 10 model.
According to college football reporter John Brice, the Big 10 is hoping to move to a 10-game conference-only schedule for 2020.
This move is definitely happening, I’m told. Big Ten for weeks has eyed a 10-game, league-only model for the coming season. Member schools have been in contact w/ their non-conference foes indepth before this move. 10-game model being explored by multiple P5 leagues https://t.co/qe99ec2kSU
— John Brice (@JohnDBrice1) July 9, 2020
So what would the Tennessee Vols’ schedule look like in this scenario?
Well, it means that you could say goodbye to the week two matchup against Oklahoma. It also means the games against Charlotte, Furman, and Troy would be canned as well.
In the conference, the Vols are scheduled to play the rest of the SEC East, Alabama, and Arkansas in 2020.
Tennessee would need to have two SEC games added.
I think the smartest idea for the SEC (and the easiest) would be to add the 2024 and 2025 conference crossover opponents to each team’s schedule in 2020.
(2024 and 2025 is as far out as the SEC has scheduled crossover games).
For Tennessee, this would mean they go on the road and play Mississippi State and they host Auburn at home.
So how would the scheduling work?
One idea would be for the SEC to essentially wait until week two to start the season. There are no SEC conference games scheduled for week one, so pushing everything back a full week would give colleges an extra week to get prepared for the season (if any quarantines are necessary). It would also take care of one of the extra bye weeks.
Another idea is to start the season in week one with the newly scheduled games. Then have a scheduled bye week 5 weeks into the season, and save the other extra bye weeks for the end of the season. This would allow several different scenarios for make-up games due to coronavirus related issues.
This is all extremely fluid. We have no idea what the season will look like this fall, but at this point, we know it won’t be a typical looking season.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports