Story Poster
Photo by Lia Musgrave, TexAgs
Texas A&M Football

SEC Round-Up: Sankey, SEC not bending rules while ACC, Big Ten make changes

December 3, 2020
8,429

When it seems everyone in college football is changing their minds and rules, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey remains steadfast.

Applaud him for that.

“We committed to playing a 10-game schedule, which is certainly unique to see some other decisions this week. We’re still moving forward with the opportunity for all 14 of our teams to play 10 games.”
- SEC commissioner Greg Sankey

Sankey appears adamant that — if at all possible — each SEC team will complete their 10-game all-conference schedules.

“We committed to playing a 10-game schedule, which is certainly unique to see some other decisions this week,” Sankey said to CBS Sports this week. “We’re still moving forward with the opportunity for all 14 of our teams to play 10 games.”

No one could legitimately criticize Sankey or the SEC if Alabama’s final game against Arkansas and Florida’s final game against LSU were canceled.

Assuming the Crimson Tide and Gators win this weekend, those teams will have clinched first place in their divisions and will play for the SEC Championship and, perhaps, a place in the four-team College Football Playoff field.

Alabama is No. 1 in the playoff rankings. Florida is No. 6.

Neither team would have to risk an upset or injuries. Besides, other conferences have taken that approach.

Earlier this week, the ACC decided that Clemson and Notre Dame would end their regular seasons after this weekend. Notre Dame plays Syracuse. Clemson plays Virginia Tech.

Barring stunning upsets, that would guarantee an ACC Championship Game rematch between No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Clemson, which played on Nov. 7 in South Bend.

Notre Dame won 47-40 in overtime. Clemson was without star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Ending the season prematurely for Notre Dame and Clemson also enhances the ACC’s chances of getting both teams in the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame is ranked second in the CFP standings. Clemson is third.

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama and LSU play this week in a game that was originally scheduled for Nov. 14.

“I was surprised to see the announcement,” Sankey said. “It begs one question: If their two most highly ranked teams were, for instance, (ranked) five and six in the CFP Rankings, would this decision have been made?”

It’s a fair question. Most know the answer.

The ACC isn’t alone in changing policy to potentially get in the playoff.

The Big Ten originally mandated teams must play at least six games to compete in the conference championship game. A team that doesn’t play enough to qualify for its conference championship game might not be selected for the playoff.

That puts Ohio State, which is fourth in the rankings, in jeopardy. The Buckeyes (4-0) are scheduled to play Michigan State on Saturday. But Michigan — who Ohio State is scheduled to play on Dec. 12 — is having COVID issues.

Michigan has canceled its game against Maryland this weekend and might not be able to play Ohio State.

However, powerful Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told the Detroit News this week that changes in policy to help Ohio State could be considered.

“I would think that if something would happen to Ohio State and they’d have to cancel another game, that that’s something that we’ve got to revisit,” Alvarez said. “They’re sitting up there still ranked No. 4. Our league can’t keep them from having the opportunity if they have a chance to be in the finals.”

There have been suggestions Ohio State could play another opponent rather than Michigan on Dec. 12 or play on Dec. 19, even if not in the Big Ten title game.

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Ohio State’s game vs. Illinois was canceled and a possible future cancellation puts the Buckeyes’ Big Ten title hopes in trouble.

“We may make some adjustments on that last week,” Alvarez said. “That’s sort of a flexible week of scheduling. But those are things we talk about, and certainly, you’ve got to consider, or reconsider.”

The Big Ten got into this mess because it began started its season on Oct. 24. Its eight-game schedule in eight weeks left little room to adjust to COVID-19 outbreaks.

The SEC started its season a month sooner, included open dates, and revised its schedule as issues occurred.

That’s another reason to applaud Sankey.

Around the SEC

This week’s games: No. 5 Texas A&M at Auburn; Arkansas at Missouri; No. 6 Florida at Tennessee; Vanderbilt at No. 8 Georgia; South Carolina at Kentucky; No. 1 Alabama at LSU

Who’s hot: Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith isn’t just hot. He’s torrid. In the last three games, Smith has caught 27 passes for 518 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s 19.1 yards per catch. For perspective, Smith’s three-game yardage total would rank 12th in the SEC. Next, Smith faces LSU, which is ranked 13th in the SEC in pass defense.

Who’s not: Vanderbilt. That’s it. Vanderbilt. When the most notable play of your entire season is a 30-yard squibbed kickoff in a 41-0 loss, you’ve reached new lows, regardless of the kicker’s gender.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Guarantano’s starting position has come into question.

Keep an eye on: Tennessee’s quarterback situation. Senior Jarrett Guarantano has been erratic. That’s putting it kindly. He’s thrown six touchdown passes and four interceptions. There is rampant speculation in Knoxville that freshman Harrison Bailey will take over the starting role. Bailey replaced Guarantano is Tennessee’s 31-17 loss to Auburn on Nov. 21 and completed seven of 10 passes for 86 yards.

The pressure is on: LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini has been the target of extreme criticism. Some have suggested he’s ill-equipped to face today’s offenses. Others have suggested he’s only been effective when having superior athletes. Both of those criticisms might be unfair, but the fact remains LSU — which likes to claim to be DBU (defensive back university) — is among the SEC’s worst in pass defense. His defense next faces Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, a top Heisman Trophy candidate. What could possibly go wrong?

Best matchup: Despite the potential mismatch of Alabama’s passing game vs. LSU’s secondary, there is a tremendous matchup of individuals. Alabama’s Smith is arguably the SEC’s best receiver and a likely NFL first-round draft pick. At least sometimes he’ll be covered by LSU sophomore cornerback Derek Stingley, who is considered one of the best — if not the best — in the nation at his position.

Discussion from...

SEC Round-Up: Sankey, SEC not bending rules while ACC, Big Ten make changes

5,730 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 12 mo ago by Haricougar
Agsuffering@bulaw
How long do you want to ignore this user?
OB, just come out and say it:

The ACC is second tier. This is their shot at a the biggest payday ever. Why they are screwing their tv partners out of ND/Wake and Clemson/FSU games. Not willing to risk the 15% chance Wake or 1% FSU spring upsets.

Sankey knows the longterm value of our partnership with ESPN and would not risk it for fast cash.
StrykerAg
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
If our game vs UT is still on the 12th then how do we and LSU get our games vs Ole Miss in?
PaulTony
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Dirty Dabo
Crooked Kelly
yeshellyes
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
When did ND join the ACC in football?
GumboMaverick
How long do you want to ignore this user?
yeshellyes said:

When did ND join the ACC in football?
dude... this season. pay attention or Google it..
Haricougar
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
StrykerAg said:

If our game vs UT is still on the 12th then how do we and LSU get our games vs Ole Miss in?


We will play UT on the 19th and UM on the 12th. This was needed to free up LSU to get their games in
Refresh
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.