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A Better Scheduling Idea

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Conferences can’t be trusted

Let’s talk for a moment.

Yesterday, the SEC announced a plan to move towards a 10-game, conference-only schedule for the football season. Theoretically, teams would play their current 6 division foes, plus 4 other cross-division opponents. While it might make sense that you would move up the next two cross-division foes from 2021 and 2022, it sounds like that isn’t a done deal, with the conference considering trying an algorithm based on strength of schedule.

Alabama was supposed to draw Tennessee and UGA out of the East this year if it had been played as normal, and they would add Florida and Vanderbilt if the next two season’s opponents were added. Meanwhile Auburn would have UGA, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Missouri. Does it surprise you that the conference doesn’t want to punish poor little Alabama with that East slate?

This is tyranny. TYRANNY!

So here’s what I propose...

FORGET THE SEC.

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense anyways that teams in the same state can’t play each other due to conference affiliation. In order to better control the spread of COVID-19, let’s close state borders. We can still have football season, but this requires teams only play within their state.

How would that work? Well, lucky for you I have schedules all planned out.

Rules

With the options limited in most states, scheduling rules will need to be laxed.

  1. Teams may play other teams more than once.
  2. Teams may play down to the DII level if necessary.
  3. P5 teams will always host lower level teams, but may travel to other P5 opponents.

Alabama

Alabama/Auburn Schedules

Team Alabama Auburn
Team Alabama Auburn
Game 1 West Alabama USA
Game 2 @ Auburn Alabama
Game 3 UAB Samford
Game 4 Auburn @Alabama
Game 5 UNA UAB
Game 6 @ Auburn Alabama
Game 7 Troy Jacksonville State
Game 8 Auburn @Alabama
Game 9 Alabama A&M Troy
Game 10 @ Auburn Alabama
Game 11 USA Alabama State
Game 12 Auburn @Alabama

Six Iron Bowls in one year? You know it. As the only two P5 schools in the state, Auburn and Alabama will have to work together to generate a respectable amount of television revenue. It may seem sacrilege, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Each school also picks up a game with each of Troy, UAB, and South Alabama, the three G5 schools in the state. To round out the schedule, Auburn and Alabama will need to grab three local FCS teams each, meaning Jacksonville State is coming back to Auburn.

Florida

Florida Schedule

Team Florida
Team Florida
Game 1 Miami
Game 2 Bethune Cookman
Game 3 USF
Game 4 FIU
Game 5 Florida A&M
Game 6 @FSU
Game 7 @Miami
Game 8 Stetson
Game 9 FAU
Game 10 UCF
Game 11 West Florida
Game 12 FSU

The true dream schedule for the Gators - they never have to leave the state.

Florida picks up a home-and-home against both Miami and FSU, meaning the Big 3 will get to have their own little round robin for the state title. There’s four more G5 schools in the state (FAU, FIU, UCF, USF), plus a host of smaller FCS and DII programs. I can’t imagine DII West Florida out of Pensacola will fair too well, but nevertheless, that’s 2020 for you.

Georgia

Georgia Schedule

Team Georgia
Team Georgia
Game 1 Ga State
Game 2 @ GT
Game 3 Kennesaw State
Game 4 GT
Game 5 Ga Southern
Game 6 @ GT
Game 7 Ga State
Game 8 GT
Game 9 Mercer
Game 10 @ GT
Game 11 Ga Southern
Game 12 GT

Georgia is in a similar boat as the state of Alabama, with two P5 schools and a litany of smaller programs. UGA will face the Yellow Jackets six times in this schedule, which will probably just be 24 quarters of brutality on behalf of the Bulldogs. Finally, a championship UGA can be proud of!

UGA also pulls in the two G5’s in the state, Georgia Southern and Georgia State, for two games a-piece, as well as the biggest school in the state from the FCS ranks.

Kentucky

Kentucky Schedule

Team Kentucky
Team Kentucky
Game 1 WKU
Game 2 Louisville
Game 3 EKU
Game 4 @ Louisville
Game 5 Murray State
Game 6 Louisville
Game 7 WKU
Game 8 @ Louisville
Game 9 Kentucky State
Game 10 Louisville
Game 11 Morehead State
Game 12 @ Louisville

Another state with two P5 programs, so I think you get the gist of how this schedule works.

With only four combined G5/FCS programs in the state, Kentucky does have to dip down to play Kentucky State late in the season, owner of these magnificent domes.

Rodney Pitts

Louisiana

LSU Schedule

Team LSU
Team LSU
Game 1 Grambling
Game 2 Tulane
Game 3 ULM
Game 4 McNeese State
Game 5 La Tech
Game 6 ULL
Game 7 Nicholls
Game 8 Tulane
Game 9 ULM
Game 10 SELA
Game 11 La Tech
Game 12 ULL

Despite being the only P5 in the whole state, something tells me LSU fans and Louisiana residents would be just fine with this slate. The defending national champs get to bring in each of its little brothers from across the state twice, and perhaps mask the fact that they lost an obscene amount of talent off last year’s team by just throwing to Ja’Marr Chase over and over.

The only shame here is that we would miss some truly epic tailgating with all of these matchups.

Mississippi

MSU/Ole Miss Schedules

Team Mississippi State Ole Miss
Team Mississippi State Ole Miss
Game 1 Ole Miss @ Miss State
Game 2 @ Ole Miss Miss State
Game 3 Ole Miss @ Miss State
Game 4 @ Ole Miss Miss State
Game 5 Ole Miss @ Miss State
Game 6 @ Ole Miss Miss State
Game 7 Ole Miss @ Miss State
Game 8 @ Ole Miss Miss State
Game 9 Ole Miss @ Miss State
Game 10 @ Ole Miss Miss State
Game 11 Ole Miss @ Miss State
Game 12 @ Ole Miss Miss State

Who are we kidding, given the chance, these schools are going to want to go 12 rounds with each other. I, for one, am not going to deny the world the chance at three months of Egg Bowl Saturdays.

As a note, we might need to keep the borders of Mississippi closed even after COVID if we do this. Sorry, Southern Miss.

Ozark

Arkansas/Mizzou Schedules

Team Arkansas Missouri
Team Arkansas Missouri
Game 1 Harding SEMO
Game 2 Missouri @ Arkansas
Game 3 Ark Pine-Bluff Arkansas State
Game 4 @ Missouri Arkansas
Game 5 Central Arkansas Ark Pine-Bluff
Game 6 Missouri @ Arkansas
Game 7 Missouri State Central Arkansas
Game 8 @ Missouri Arkansas
Game 9 Henderson State Arkansas State
Game 10 Missouri @ Arkansas
Game 11 SEMO Missouri State
Game 12 @ Missouri Arkansas

Unfortunately, the pandemic may have some geopolitical consequences, and college football is foreve intertwined with state politics. In this timeline, due to the absolute void of other programs in the backwater of the SEC, Arkansas and Missouri have merged to form a new state called “Ozark”.

Arkansas and Missouri become instate rivals, playing every other weekend this fall. Only one G5 team joins the fray here, the Arkansas State Red Wolves, but as is tradition, the Razorbacks administration continues to refuse to put them on the schedule. The rest of the schedule is filled out with FCS and DII opponents, including Gus Malzahn’s alma mater Henderson State for the Arkansas.

South Carolina

South Carolina

Team South Carolina
Team South Carolina
Game 1 Coastal Carolina
Game 2 Clemson
Game 3 Furman
Game 4 @ Clemson
Game 5 Citadel
Game 6 Clemson
Game 7 Coastal Carolina
Game 8 @ Clemson
Game 9 Charleston Southern
Game 10 Clemson
Game 11 Wofford
Game 12 @ Clemson

South Carolina continues to insist they aren’t the little brother, and Clemson continues to sit on them, slapping the Gamecocks with their own hands while laughing “Quit hitting yourself! Quit hitting yourself!”.

Tennessee

Tennessee/Vandy Schedules

Team Tennessee Vanderbilt
Team Tennessee Vanderbilt
Game 1 Memphis MTSU
Game 2 Vandy @ Tennessee
Game 3 Chattanooga Austin Peay
Game 4 @ Vandy Tennessee
Game 5 Memphis UT-Martin
Game 6 Vandy @ Tennessee
Game 7 MTSU Memphis
Game 8 @ Vandy Tennessee
Game 9 Tenn Tech MTSU
Game 10 Vandy @ Tennessee
Game 11 ETSU Tennesee State
Game 12 @ Vandy Tennessee

You know the drill. Two in-state rivals, three sets of home-and-homes + G5/FCS games. There are six FCS teams in Tennessee, so to make everything even, I had Vandy and the Vols split the FCS teams equally, and schedule three games between MTSU and Memphis (both G5).

And last but not least...

Texas

Texas A&M Schedule

Team Texas A&M
Team Texas A&M
Game 1 @Texas Tech
Game 2 Lamar
Game 3 Houston
Game 4 North Texas
Game 5 Rice
Game 6 Stephen F. Austin
Game 7 SMU
Game 8 @TCU
Game 9 UTEP
Game 10 UTSA
Game 11 Texas State
Game 12 Baylor

What? You thought a measly little pandemic was going to get Texas and Texas A&M to kiss and make up?