As of the evening of July 29, it appears that the non-conference battle between Texas football and the LSU Tigers could be in jeopardy.
At this point, it looks like the biggest non-conference game remaining on the slate for any Power Five conference teams in the nation came down to the Texas football program taking on the LSU Tigers. But even that game appears to be on shaky grounds as it stands on the evening of July 29. While Texas and LSU aren’t all that far apart geographically, there are bigger differences in play here.
According to a report from Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, the SEC is considering cancelling all non-conference games for the fall. The adjustments for the SEC in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic won’t impact just their 14 football programs this year, but go onto other sports too.
Here’s more on what this report from Dellenger and Sports Illustrated had to say on the subject.
The SEC is moving closer to an agreement on a conference-only schedule of 10 games, multiple sources told Sports Illustrated. During a virtual meeting on Wednesday, a majority of athletic directors approved the idea of an SEC-only, 10-game schedule. However, the schedule must be ratified by league presidents. SEC presidents are expected to meet virtually Thursday to seriously discuss the matter. It is unclear if they will vote then or delay a decision until next week. The NCAA Board of Governors is scheduled to meet Tuesday in what could be a momentous event for the 2020–21 college athletic season. Officials there could postpone or cancel fall championships, eliminating year-ending championships for sports such as FCS football, volleyball and soccer, or moving those to the spring.
Not only would the Longhorns lose their game against LSU, set to take place on Sep. 12 in Baton Rouge, but other big games will be lost too if the SEC were to cancel their non-conference schedule entirely.
We would also lose non-conference showdowns between the Big 12 and SEC like the Ole Miss Rebels vs. Baylor Bears, Oklahoma Sooners vs. Tennessee Volunteers, and Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Kansas State Wildcats. There’s a significant number of games that occur just between the SEC and Big 12 during the college football non-conference slate this year.
But the Big Ten and PAC-12 made the move pretty early on to move to conference-only schedules for the 2020 season. And it looked initially like the ACC was going to follow suit immediately. The ACC eventually joined the Big Ten and PAC-12 to move to a conference-only schedule before the SEC and Big 12 did.
All that just to arrive at a conclusion that was looming anyway for the Power Five conferences. If the SEC moves to a conference-only schedule, then pretty much the last of the significant non-conference games for the Big 12 are gone. That includes the biggest non-conference game by far for the Longhorns.
Texas seems like they could already be in a position to move to 25 percent capacity for fan attendance this year at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. They are set to open up the 2020 season on Sep. 5 at home at DKR against the South Florida Bulls out of the American Athletic Conference before they are currently supposed to travel to Baton Rouge to take on the defending National Champion LSU out of the SEC West.