As of now, we could be entering a college football season in which every single Power Five conference has a different start date. The SEC just became the latest to decide on its scheduling protocols, moving to a 10-game, conference-only season set to begin on Sept. 26.
Everything in the sport is in motion. As of now, it appears that the SEC may be the last league to start play. That decision allows it to observe the start of other college football leagues and the NFL, and see how things go as they begin play.
The ACC rolled out its schedule plans on Wednesday. That league is going with a “10-plus-one” model allowing for each team to schedule a non-conference game. Of course, with the SEC bowing out of non-conference play, and taking the major ACC-SEC rivalry games with it, it changes what many expected those schedules to look like pretty drastically. ACC schedules will begin the week of Sept. 7-12.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 were the first two leagues to announce conference-only schedules. They haven’t officially rolled out their plans yet, but the Pac-12 is believed to be eyeing a Sept. 19 start date, while Sept. 5 is still reportedly the most likely Week 1 for the Big Ten. Meanwhile, the Big 12 is still considering schedules up to 12 games, last we heard, and could move up Week 1 to the last weekend in August, and spread the schedule over 16 weeks. Oklahoma is already bumping up its opener against Missouri State to Aug. 29.
Big 12: Aug. 29
Big Ten: Reportedly Sept. 5
ACC: Week of Sept. 7
Pac-12: No earlier than Sept. 19
SEC: Sept. 26
Five Week 1s.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) July 30, 2020
It makes for an extremely hectic college football rollout. Two College Football Playoff contenders like Oklahoma and Alabama, regulars in the postseason, could start their seasons a month apart.
For a while, it sounded like the Power Five might try and coordinator together as much as possible, or at least the ACC, Big 12, and SEC would form some sort of consortium to get on the same page with how to handle this bizarre situation. Instead, we have something of a free for all.
The Group of Five programs can’t be thrilled with how things have played out over the last few days.