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SEC Goes Conference-Only In Football, BYU’s Game Against Missouri Canceled

COLLEGE STATION, TX - SEPTEMBER 26: A detail view of the Southeastern Conference logo with all 13 member universities is seen during a press conference for the Texas A&M Aggies accepting an invitation to join the Southeastern Conference on September 26, 2011 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The SEC will play a Conference-Only schedule in 2020. College football’s top conference announced Thursday their 2020 season will begin on September 26th and will feature 10 games for each team within the conference. No non-conference games will be played.

“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,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a press release. “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 news comes on the heels of the ACC announcing an 11-game schedule that will feature 10 conference games plus one non-conference game to be played at an ACC member’s venue.

The SEC going Conference-Only means BYU loses its sixth and final Power 5 opponent on the 2020 schedule. BYU was slated to host Missouri on October 10th in Provo. That game is now canceled.

The SEC’s decision also limit BYU’s options to fill the open dates on the schedule. Reports have surfaced in the past few weeks that BYU and Alabama could open the 2020 season against one another. That is no longer an option for BYU. Same with a potential matchup against Texas A&M. Two programs who, like BYU, lost non-conference games after the Pac-12 kept their schedule in-house for the upcoming fall.

The SEC is viewed as college football’s best conference on an annual basis. From fan support, stadium sizes, financial commitment, the SEC lives up to its slogan, “It Just Means More.” With college football’s top conference making the move to conference-only, this could set off a ripple effect where everyone stays within their league this upcoming season. Leaving BYU to potentially turn to Independents Liberty, New Mexico State, Army, and others for games.

BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe had an interview on BYUtv last week discussing scheduling and said he’s had “a lot of conversations with a number of people since leagues have gone to Conference-only schedules. “…It’s not just me. Most of those athletic directors and coaches that had their games canceled had to all of a sudden start sprinting.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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