By Adam Brown
The Coach Kiffin era will begin at Ole Miss with a full SEC ten-game slate. The SEC announced Thursday afternoon that the 2020 SEC football season will be comprised of a 10-game Conference-only schedule. The decision was made by the 14 SEC presidents after they met virtually on Thursday to discuss the schedule.
The 2020 football season will kick off on Sept. 26.
The SEC Football Championship Game will be played December 19 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, rescheduled from the original date of December 5. The schedule will include one mid-season open date for each school and an open date on December 12 for all schools.
This season, SEC member institutions will take the gridiron for ten conference games, a change from the usual eight conference games and four non-conference. The non-conference games that the Rebels lose are Baylor, Southeast Missouri, UCONN and Georgia Southern.
The Rebels will pick up two east opponents for their future rotation in Tennessee and Kentucky.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a press release on Thursday that the league is still monitoring developments related to COVID-19.
“This new plan for a football schedule is consistent with the educational goals of our universities to allow for the safe and orderly return to campus of their student populations and to provide a healthy learning environment during these unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 virus,” Sankey said. “This new schedule supports the safety measures that are being taken by each of our institutions to ensure the health of our campus communities.”
This action was taken following extensive discussions and thorough deliberation among the SEC’s Presidents and Chancellors, Athletics Directors, Conference Office staff, and medical advisors, led by the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force.
“After careful consideration of the public health indicators in our region and following advice of our medical advisors, we have determined that this is the best course of action to prepare for a safe and healthy return to competition for SEC student-athletes, coaches and others associated with our sports programs,” said Sankey.
The decision to limit competition to Conference-only opponents and rescheduling the SEC Championship Game is based on the need for maximum flexibility in making any necessary scheduling adjustments while reacting to developments around the pandemic and continued advice from medical professionals.
“We believe these schedule adjustments offer the best opportunity to complete a full season by giving us the ability to adapt to the fluid nature of the virus and the flexibility to adjust schedules as necessary if disruptions occur,” Sankey said. “It is regrettable that some of our traditional non-conference rivalries cannot take place in 2020 under this plan, but these are unique, and hopefully temporary, circumstances that call for unconventional measures.”
On Wednesday, the ACC accepted a ten-game plus one-game model for the 2020 season. Notre Dame also will take part in the ACC slate.