The release of the SEC football schedule on Wednesday features the return of non-conference matches and an opening day roster on September 4 that includes a Power 5 bout. LSU in UCLA, Georgia vs. Clemson (Charlotte, North Carolina) and Miami vs. Alabama (Atlanta).
Texas A&M, which came close to making the University Football Playoffs last season, will travel to Colorado in Week 2, recreating the previous Top 12 program bouts. The game will be played at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver.
Blonde, which will be led by new coach Bryan Harsin, will play on Penn State in Week 3.
Defending champions Alabama will kick off conference games that Saturday with a trip to Florida, setting up a rematch of last season’s SEC championship match, which was won by Crimson Tide 52-46.
“We are proud to have completed the 2020 football season under unique circumstances and will now focus on playing the 2021 football season on schedule,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “The circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 virus will continue to guide our decision making if any adjustments need to be made.”
The SEC canceled all non-conference matches last season amid the pandemic, with teams playing 10 regular season matches against league opponents each.
The 2021 schedule will also feature two homecoming trips for the head coach.
Coach Ole Miss Lane Kiffin will return to Tennessee for the first time as head coach when the Rebel fight the Volunteers on October 16. Kiffin only spent one season as head coach at Tennessee in 2009 before leaving for the USC, sparking a commotion from students in Knoxville.
Former coach Ole Miss Hugh Freeze will return to his old hometown Freedom a trip to Ole Miss on November 6. Freeze spent five seasons as head coach at Ole Miss before stepping down in 2017 after school officials discovered a pattern that included phone calls to numbers associated with female escort services. Freeze took over the Liberty program in 2019 and have turned 18-6 in two seasons.
Other highlights of the SEC’s release schedule include:
On Friday, the SEC announced a roster of games for the final two weeks of the regular season, due to delays from the start of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The conference will play six games on December 12 – an open date set for all schools at the start of the season – and up to five games on December 19, including SEC championship matches.
number 5 Texas A&M (6-1) is scheduled to host Be Miss on December 12, a match originally scheduled for November 21 but was postponed due to COVID-19 issues in the Aggies program. Ole Miss has suspended team activities due to an increase in positive COVID-19 tests in its program and is scheduled to resume its activities on Wednesday.
The Aggies’ ability to play each of their last matches is a key part of their potential University Football Playoff hopes. The same is true for No. 6 Florida (7-1), who was scheduled to host LSU on 12 December in a match postponed from 17 October. The Gators currently lead SEC East.
In addition to SEC championship matches, on December 19 Ole Miss will travel to LSU and Missouri to travel to the State of Mississippi. Other games tentatively scheduled for that date are Texas A&M in Tennessee and Vanderbilt in Georgia. If Texas A&M and / or Georgia qualify for an SEC championship match, games not played by each team on that day will be declared no contest by the SEC.
Even though we were trained from birth to believe otherwise, college football does not need to happen in the fall. This is good news, because we now know there are different possibilities that the 2020 college football season will finish well until 2021. It might not even begin until then.
If a coronavirus pandemic demands that much, some of the biggest competition in the game will return to its roots. From the Iron Bowl to Michigan-Notre Dame, from Auburn-Georgia to the Big Game, their origins lie in winter and spring. Other leading schools, such as USC, Ohio State, Nebraska and Texas, also play 19th-century games in the first half of the calendar as well.
The earliest known campus game to be played at the beginning of the year took place in May 1874. College football developed along two lines of rules. Most schools prefer soccer games. Harvard, however, plays a game more similar to rugby. It took several years for Harvard to find another school that would agree to play according to the rules. In the winter of 1874, the rugby team at McGill University in Montreal offered to go down to Harvard to play one rugby match and one soccer match.
Harvard defeated McGill in football, 3-0, on Thursday, May 14. They played a goalless draw in rugby the following day.
Playing games to teach sports is the norm, most famous in small Catholic schools in northern Indiana. In November 1887, students at Notre Dame invited a team from Michigan, where they had played for almost a decade, to come west to give instructions to Ireland about how football worked, and then to play the game too. Michigan’s visit, including the 8-0 victory, went so well that soon the schools agreed to play again.
Michigan returned to South Bend at the first opportunity. Unfortunately, it won’t be for six months (April 1888), after one of the harshest winters in memory, according to “Natural Enemies,” the history of John Kryk’s competition. Michigan won both matches, 26-6 and 10-4, although as Kryk pointed out, both sides grumbled. Michigan didn’t allow a single point in the previous eight games, which began in 1884, so Michigan fans didn’t like that South Bend rookies on the boards in both matches. Notre Dame players and fans believe that Michigan scored in the second match by starting the game before Notre Dame was ready.
Yes, leading a dispute is almost as old as the game itself too.
The reason that other competition starts will resonate with anyone who is familiar with what drives modern football. The desire to defeat your neighbors long before Walter Camp registered at Yale. From the early days of campus soccer, schools scrambled for competitive advantage.
Take what we now know as the Big Game. In the fall of 1891, California, which has been playing football since 1883 – usually in the spring – challenged the new university across the San Francisco Bay in Palo Alto for a match. Stanford played the clock, pausing for three months while the team trained under the supervision of student organization president John Whittemore, who played at the University of Washington at St. Louis. The team agreed to play on March 19, 1892, when the Cardinal surprised the more experienced Bears with three first-half touchdowns (four points at the time), then held on to win 14-10.
There is also scheduling to attract crowds. Auburn and Georgia play their first match on Saturday, February 20, 1892, as part of a three-day weekend celebration around a new national holiday. Congress has made George Washington’s birthday – February 22 – a national holiday just seven years earlier.
Professor Auburn, George Petrie and Georgian professor Charles Herty, have discovered football while working on their doctorate at Johns Hopkins. When they returned to their respective campuses in 1891, they brought football. Petrie contacted Herty about the game between the two schools. They decided to play at Piedmont Park in Atlanta on Saturday, February 20, 1892, as part of Washington’s birthday celebration the following Monday.
“That’s headlines, not just sports,” in the Atlanta newspaper, former Bulldog coach and athletics director Vince Dooley said in the documentary.Saturday in the South“Georgia brought her mascot, a goat named Sir William, who was on the sidelines for the team’s first match three weeks earlier, a 50-0 victory over Mercer. Sir William, the Atlanta Journal reported, wearing a black coat decorated with” UG “in red. Georgia lost to Auburn, 10-0, and loyal followers of Sir William rebelled. “Alumni and fans are very disappointed,” said Dooley, “that they are roasting goats.”
“That was the first tailgate in Georgia,” he said.
A year after Auburn played Georgia, the school became known as the Agriculture and Mechanics College of Alabama playing the University of Alabama on Washington’s actual birthday, Wednesday, February 22. On the same day, Wyoming played its first game, defeating Cheyenne High 14-0. The competition that came to be known as the Iron Bowl, one of which was once referred to by Beano Cook as “Middle Eastern campus soccer,” lasted longer than Wyoming-Cheyenne High . That one began to diminish in 1914.
Attaching a game to a vacation has several reasons or reasons. Many other winter or spring games don’t. USC, for example, played four games in January or February from 1888 to 1893.
“Games were played in those years almost on an ad hoc basis,” USC football historian Michael Glenn said in an email. “There is no concept of season.” In those early days, Glenn said, “USC plays soccer only when there is enough interest to bring down the team.”
North Carolina, Wake Forest and Duke (then known as Trinity) played a round-robin in March 1889. This is one of the earliest examples of creating instant competition: Wake won both matches with the coach, W.C. Riddick, who has graduated from Chapel Hill.
Texas fielded their first team in the fall of 1893 and enjoyed team games from Dallas and San Antonio so much that they scheduled a rematch in February the following year. Texas won all four, won the last two by a margin greater than the first two. No wonder Longhorns fans set the bar so high.
It will not be long before college football becomes as identified with the fall as a fall of the leaf. More than a century later, we are waiting to see whether the 2020 regular season will be remembered because of the fall of snow, or, heaven is helping us, pollen. Wherever the season lands on the calendar, there is some comfort in knowing college football has been around before.
So many of our favorite campus soccer matches are played only once – Kick Six, Bush Push, flag late at Miami vs. Ohio State. And if the game goes the other way, not only does the result change, but the domino effect is almost impossible to measure. Inheritance is rewritten, trainers stay and programs run on tracks they may not enjoy.
Nick Saban and Crimson Tide are featured in several games here. And after writing about how close Rich Rodriguez, not Nick Saban, came to train Tide in 2007 – along with others what-if great training – now it’s time to turn our attention to our journalists’ favorites which involve classic games.
Ryan McGee: I will never question Tom Osborne’s desire to win the 1984 Orange Bowl instead of binding. In fact, going for two and losing to Miami is the fuel that drives Huskers to be what they are in the next decade. BUT … they will really win the title if they kick PAT.
Adam Rittenberg: What if Colt McCoy never suffered an injury in the first quarter against Alabama in the 2009 BCS title game? Texas has never returned, and Alabama has been on a historic journey since its first championship under Nick Saban. Or what if Notre Dame defeated USC in 2005, and the game was considered before Bush Push? Maybe Ireland reached the national title game that year. Maybe it still ended badly for Charlie Weis at his alma mater. USC also probably will never play Texas for the championship in the biggest CFB match ever.
Chris Low: What if referee Terry Porter did not throw the controversial fourth penalty flag down in overtime for bait interruptions at the 2003 Fiesta Bowl (after about 3 seconds of delay, because Miami fans will gladly remind you)? Miami will win the second consecutive national championship to close the 2002 season with a Fiesta Bowl victory over Ohio State, which means Hurricanes will remain the last FBS team to win consecutive national championships and be unbeaten in both seasons. They won 12-0 in the 2001 national title season and have won 34 straight matches before 31-24 doubling the Buckeyes.
Mark Schlabach: What if Alabama player Nick Saban kicked the ball – instead of trying to field a goal along 57 yards – in the last Iron Bowl 2013 match? What if Saban did not challenge the timekeeper and argue for one more second? Adam Griffith’s long field goal was short, Auburn Davis Chris Davis caught the ball in the final zone and ran 109 yards to win the touchdown in a 34-28 victory. It is one of the most iconic touchdowns in the history of campus football. The victory put the Tigers in the SEC championship match, which they won to reach the BCS National Championship, losing to Florida State 34-31.
The 2013 Auburn-Alabama match was decided by one of the most famous plays in the history of college football: “The Kick Six.”
Alex Scarborough: There is another Alabama what if it will not send Saban’s blood pressure through the roof: What if he has not reserved Jalen Hurts during the half-time CFP National Championship match in favor of Elder Tagovailoa? That is probably the most unprecedented training decision in the game in the last decade, placing a former SEC of the Year offensive player who supports a true new freshman unknown without meaningful experience, but it pays off with Saban’s fifth degree in Alabama. Tagovailoa might be at USC if not, due to lack of playing time. Ill probably never been to Oklahoma. And these are just the two finalists of the Heisman Trophy who were directly influenced by the move. Take a step back, and take steps indirectly impact on a number of other programs, including Georgia, Ohio State and Miami.
Ivan Maisel: The State of Florida began the 1991 season ranked No. 1 and for seven weeks looked like one of the best teams in modern memory. In consecutive weeks, the Seminoles set a record for scoring Big House by beating number 3 Michigan 51-31, then shaming No. 10 Syracuse 46-14. It looks like this will be the season in which the State of Florida defeats cross-country rival Miami and wins Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden as his first national championship. But on Week 8, the State of Florida plays at LSU in muddy and muddy Death Valley. The State of Florida won 27-16, coming back from 13 points behind, but lost the war. Seven Seminoles suffered serious injuries, including three shoulder splits and two knee sprains. The State of Florida has never been the same team. Seminoles ended the season by losing to Miami 17-16 in Wide Right I. What if the Seminoles were healthy?
GameDay 100: 1991, 1992 and 2000 The fight between Seminoles and Hurricanes is determined by a wide right kick.
David M. Hale: Some coaches have been condemned by “what if” more than Mark Richt. What if Rex Grossman didn’t carve out his defense in 2002? What if D.J. Shockley wasn’t injured before the Florida match in 2005? What if Steve Spurrier did not attract massive anger in Athens in 2007, the year Georgia finished No. 2 in the poll? But, of course, there is nothing if the loom is bigger than in 2012, when Aaron Murray’s bait was deflected and captured by Chris Conley in the 5-yard line, running out of time on the return of the Bulldogs against Alabama in the SEC in the SEC game championship. Losses by Tide won’t do much to change Nick Saban’s legacy, but the boy who wins will change the way we look at Richt. Georgia’s victory will likely send the Bulldogs to a national championship match, where the less talented Notre Dame will be the last obstacle to winning the trophy. Instead, assuming he never coached again, Richt will replace his position in the ranks of the greatest coaches who have won national titles, along with Frank Beamer, Pat Dye and Bo Schembechler. Ah, what might happen.
Heather Dinich: What if the 2014 unbeaten Florida State – the team that won seven of 13 matches with touchdowns or less – finally saw its luck run out in the ACC championship match against Georgia Tech? Seminoles are the only undefeated Power 5 team left in the country that season – the first year of the CFP – and the selection committee put them in No. 3, behind two one-loss teams in Alabama and Oregon. It was the year that the committee surprised everyone with the final ranking when dropping TCU from No. 3 to No. 6. However, if Georgia Tech wins the ACC, FSU will likely come out of the top four, making room for one of the Big 12 teams. If TCU or Baylor enter, will the Big 12 still have a conference championship match?