Ten Thoughts for Monday Morning
I only gave you eight thoughts last week. This was a busy week. A lot happened and there's a lot to digest. So we'll make up the shortage from last week and go with a dozen thoughts today. I'm going to go, best as I can, in chronological order.
1) The ACC announced a scheduling plan last week that went with nine games plus one non-conference game to be hosted in the ACC team's home state. That left open the possibility of playing games like Georgia/Georgia Tech, Louisville/Kentucky, Clemson/South Carolina and Florida/Florida State. As Pat Forde wrote, it was no accident that the ACC did this before the SEC could announce anything. That put the onus on the SEC to be the bad guy that canceled these rivalries this season. If you look at the rest of the announcements (B1G, PAC12, SEC) they were obviously coordinated ahead of time with coaches and ADs knowing what was going to be announced and when. That gave the schools a chance to make graphics and craft statements. That wasn't the case with the ACC. They knew something was coming from the SEC and they got their announcement out ahead of it. Nobody in the league really seemed to know it was coming. That doesn't make it better or worse necessarily. It's actually somewhat of a smart move by the ACC. Like I said, it made the SEC look like "the bad guy." Ultimately, it doesn't matter. I don't think those non-conference games in the ACC likely even get played. I mean, I guess every ACC team could schedule a Group of Five team, but those teams would still have to find a full non-conference schedule filled with other Group of Five teams (depending on what the Big 12 does, more on that shortly). Basically, the ACC said they want to play games that I don't think are ever going to get played and that they probably never intended to play. They just didn't want to be the ones that looked like they called them off. So much for that whole "One for all, all for one and we're all going to work together on this" thing.
2) The next day, the SEC announced it was going with a ten-game, conference only schedule. (The PAC 12 actually announced its schedule prior to this, but there are more pressing issues to talk about with that conference). That was what we had been talking about for a month now. They discussed a ton of different models, but that was the one that seemed to be the leader for the last few weeks. Many people reacted by saying "How come Missouri can travel to Florida but Florida State can't?" It's not about the distance traveled really. It's about two things: First, by just playing amongst yourselves, you limit the number of other teams you're exposed to and therefore potentially limit the spread of exposure to the virus. Second, and more importantly, it allows for more flexibility in scheduling. Every team has a mid-season off week and there's a bye week prior to the SEC title game. That means you have two weekends where you can flex games that you might need to move based on outbreaks and cancellations. You can't really do that with non-conference games because the chances of off weeks lining up are much smaller. The SEC controls the schedule of all 14 of its teams so it's much easier to find a place to move Mizzou and Florida than it is to find a place where both Florida and Florida State can play.
3) Is there a chance this actually becomes a permanent change?