Like It Is:

Power conferences adjust, cross fingers

By: Wally Hall
Published: Sunday, August 2, 2020

Goals were achieved, for now.

While there is still no guarantee college football will be played this fall, a plan is in place for four of the Power 5 conferences. The Big 12 is supposed to announce its plan this week.

The ACC comes out looking just a little bit better than the SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten. It was the only major conference to consider anyone other than its own full-time members.

Granted, that is the job of the commissioners, to look out — and make as much money as possible — for their members.

Retiring ACC Commissioner John Swofford quickly invited Notre Dame to take part in the ACC football schedule. The school already competes in the ACC in all sports except football and hockey.

Notre Dame has its own lucrative TV contract with NBC, but for this season — and only this season — money from the ACC TV contract and Notre Dame’s will be combined and divided.

Notre Dame already had six ACC schools on its schedule for this fall.

This is a one-year agreement for Notre Dame to be part of the ACC in football.

The ACC also was willing to play 10 conference games plus one nonconference game in an attempt to keep in-state rivalries such as Louisville-Kentucky, Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia Tech-Georgia and Florida State-Florida intact.

That was gone faster than Girl Scout cookies at a Boy Scout jamboree on Thursday when SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced the SEC would play 10 conference games only.

So those longstanding rivalries will be put on hold.

Sankey’s thinking was solid. The SEC wanted the ability to monitor all of its schools as the battle with the coronavirus continues.

The new 10-game schedule will be announced after longtime assistant SEC commissioner Mark Womack decides who will play whom.

Some schools will like Womack’s plan. Some won’t.

Teams from the SEC West that draw Georgia or Florida as a new opponent will be not be happy.

Teams who get Vanderbilt and South Carolina will be grinning like they’re posing for a prom picture.

The teams in the SEC East, well, to be honest none of them really want to play Alabama, LSU, Auburn or Texas A&M.

Speaking of the Aggies, there is no one this new schedule is going to be better for than them. Their cross-division opponents for this season are Vanderbilt and South Carolina. How does that happen, and where can the University of Arkansas sign up?

The new schedule means more challenges for the Razorbacks as they try to claw their way out of a hole that has seen them fall to an all-time low the past two years. The 4-20 record includes losses to North Texas, San Jose State and Western Kentucky, and zero wins against SEC teams.

This fall, the Razorbacks already had an improving Tennessee team from the SEC East to go along with annual opponent Missouri.

As a side note, if the season begins Sept. 26 and ends 10 games later, the Razorbacks will beat Missouri no matter where the game is played.

UA defensive coordinator Barry Odom was the Tigers head coach, and no one knows the players better than him.

He was replaced by Eli Drinkwitz, who comes from the Gus Malzahn coaching tree and had one year as a head coach at Appalachian State, where he inherited a ton of talent.

Drinkwitz is from Alma and graduated magna cum laude from Arkansas Tech University, so he won’t be outsmarted. But it might be a wee bit difficult for the Tigers to play hard against a coach they loved.

A new way for the SEC to play this season is set. Now everyone must do their part to ensure there is one.


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