The SEC has taken the first step towards the league playing a 10-game conference-only football schedule this season.
Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, citing sources, said a majority of the league’s 14 athletic directors approved the proposal Wednesday in a virtual meeting. Teams normally play a 12-game schedule including four non-conference games, but the coronavirus pandemic is forcing changes on every level of sports.
The last step for the SEC is the league’s presidents ratifying the proposal. The presidents will discuss the matter Thursday in a virtual meeting, but there’s no guarantee they’ll make a decision or delay the vote to next week.
The ACC announced Wednesday it will play an 11-game schedule starting Sept. 12 with 10 conference games and one non-conference game. Independent Notre Dame will be included in the ACC this season.
The SEC, which has seven schools each in the Western Division (LSU’s division) and Eastern Division, have played an eight-game conference schedule since 1992 when the league expanded to 12 teams and split into divisions.
Currently, the SEC eight-game schedule for each team consists of six division games, one permanent non-division opponent and a rotating non-division opponent.
This season, LSU currently has home games against division members Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State and vs. non-division rotator South Carolina.
The Tigers’ road league games are at division foes Auburn, Arkansas and Texas A&M and permanent non-division foe Florida.
If the SEC presidents approve the 10-game league schedule, it isn’t known yet how the league will decide to add two more conference games for each team.
One solution might be to stick with every school’s future non-division opponent rotating schedule, which the SEC already has in place. If the league, say, decided to add the next two scheduled non-conference rotators on every member schedule, it would mean this season LSU would add Kentucky for a road game and have Tennessee play in Tiger Stadium.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron, in a virtual Rotary Club meeting Wednesday, said he’s not worried about when and how the season will start. All he knows is his 2019 defending national champs will be ready.
“We’re preparing that we’re going to kick off on Sept. 5,” Orgeron said. “If they move it back or change it, who cares? You call us at midnight we’re going to go play in a pasture.”
If LSU goes to a 10-game only league schedule, it would lose non-conference home games against Texas, Texas-San Antonio and Nicholls and a neutral site game vs. Rice in Houston.