When the ACC announced its schedule on Wednesday, with 10 conference games and one non-conference game within the schools’ home states, it seemed like a clear decision to protect some major rivalry games. There are four annual games between ACC and SEC football programs that would not be played if either league went to a conference-only schedule, like the Big Ten and Pac-12 have already announced.
The league is set to begin play on Sept. 26, a similar delayed start to the one reportedly being considered by the Pac-12. The ACC is starting earlier in September, while the Big 12 is reportedly considering pushing games up to “Week Zero” in August, to spread its schedule across 16 weeks.
Assuming that the reports are true, and the SEC is not allowing for an extra game, it means a year off for some significant rivalries. Florida vs. Florida State, Clemson vs. South Carolina, Kentucky vs. Louisville, and Georgia vs. Georgia Tech are all off the schedule for the year as a result.
Some longstanding rivalry games are out: Florida-Florida State, Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Louisville-Kentucky. Also: Texas-LSU, Tennessee-Oklahoma, Arkansas-Notre Dame.
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) July 30, 2020
This news won’t be well received by many fans. Just days ago, Clemson president Jim Clements said that his school and the University of South Carolina were working to preserve the Palmetto Bowl rivalry, which has been played uninterrupted since 1909. This year will snap that impressive streak.
Clean, Old Fashioned Hate—the Georgia vs. Georgia Tech rivalry game—has been played annually since 1925. Florida and Florida State have played every single year since the first matchup in 1958. The Governor’s Cup in Kentucky has been an annual event since 1994.
We’ll see if the ACC adjusts anything with these games against SEC football programs apparently off the table. If not, those schools may have to scramble a bit to fill those spots previously reserved to keep these huge rivalries running.