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Nick Saban Reacts To SEC's Decision On Football Schedule

A closeup of Nick Saban wearing a headset during an Alabama football game.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts in the second half of the AllState Sugar Bowl against the Clemson Tigers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The SEC will play a conference-only schedule this season, the conference announced on Thursday. Alabama football head coach Nick Saban is pleased with the decision.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SEC is following in the footsteps of the Big Ten and Pac-12. All three conferences have made it official that each will play a conference-only schedule. The decision eliminates unnecessary travel and reduces risk during the global pandemic.

Alabama was slotted to face USC, Georgia State, Kent State and UT Martin in the non-conference this season. Those games have been cancelled. Instead, the Tide will play 10 conference games as opposed to the traditional eight within the SEC.

The SEC's decision will no doubt add a bit more of a challenge to Alabama football's schedule. But Saban and the Tide are happy a plan is in place to play football this fall. Saban released a statement on Thursday following the SEC's decision.

"We are pleased to have a plan in place for the Southeastern Conference this season," Saban released in a statement. "We believe it is the best option to keep players and staff safe and still maintain the integrity of the season."

Alabama is still expected to play the eight SEC opponents already scheduled in for 2020. Those opponents include: Georgia, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Tennessee, LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn.

The SEC will eventually add two more SEC opponents to Alabama's 2020 schedule. It'll be interesting to see which SEC programs get penciled in to face the Tide this season.