Coalition of the Willing, Hanging On by a Thread, but It’s a Strong One, Especially in the South…or As the World Turns: American College Football Edition, EXTRA, EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT! And, thanks for reading…
Han Vance on American college football: The SEC, ACC, Big 12 go it together this season, with the ACC starting two weeks before the other two, as the Big 12 finally moved the start of their league-only-plus-one schedule to 9/26, while recommitting to both playing this season and a league brass stated power position of collaboration yet free will. Very Texas, very Oklahoma – they are all in. The all over the East ACC reconfirmed as well, it is going to happen still. Since league commissioner Greg Sankey has said the SEC will play, the league has not wavered.
The first Power 5 program to play will be big-city private school multi-decade legends Miami on 9/10 hosting strong Group of 5 school UAB, with two more mid-majors often of note, BYU and Navy, kicking off 9/7. Prolific SMU will have visited Texas State in lovely little San Marcos, Tex., on 9/5, same day Group of 5 schools Arkansas State and Memphis play in the mid-South near the Mississippi River. This is America.
An America that loves sports and values football above any other. College football is 50 years older (151) than pro football. It gets going, still folks!, on 9/3, with Southern Miss playing South Alabama – very Deep South.
The Big Ten (one) and Pac-12 (zero) accounted for one total national championship in the last 15 seasons, and none, including no CFP games won at all in the last full five seasons. College football is very valid this season with three Power 5 leagues playing, and Group of 5 – smaller too – but playing well in places. The CFP is actually a non-NCAA regulated event, and head honcho Mark Emmert said the NCAA simply can not tell the leagues not to play in fall.
The real authority is with the big leagues themselves, not the NCAA. The top-leagues only Power 5 were even compared, unfavorably I might add, to the five families of organized crime in NY/NJ history. College football is no joke in the South, folks.
My Georgia/my SEC/my college football season, all went from flux to some level of knowns now, as first things first, this is the UGA 2020 football slate of opponents:
SEC play resumes 9/26, with the marquee matchup Georgia at Bama, originally slotted for 9/19, moved to 10/17. The league members will each play league-only schedules of 10 games, each team adding two additional cross-conference games (for a total of four, instead of the just-two standard), to existing SEC slates, planned years in advance. The added teams were slotted based on perceived relative strength vs. weakness, ensuring no contender went unduly challenged. Teams were slotted similarly to the winning, proven NCAA basketball tournament selection process.
Nationally, Oklahoma had a bunch of coronavirus cases after they let kids go home, demonstrating the point their rival coach Scott Frost of Nebraska had in saying players are safer with their teams, in the confines of their micro-bubble(s). In a Big Ten vote to save the precious fall football season, only Nebraska and Iowa reps voted yay, with the nays accepting a plan to effort to play one regular season of football in the coming spring. The far West’s Pac-12 quickly following suit, as expected. Nebraska and Iowa could ask the too-small comparatively Big 12 – they don’t even have 12 teams, folks – to allow one-year entry to the league, as affiliate but non-member Notre Dame did successfully with the ACC. However, with Nebraska having bolted the own cable TV station-having Texas– (and winning Oklahoma-) dominated Big 12 for perceived greener pastures in the Big Ten, I wonder if Nebraska would be welcomed.
Legit SEC – and therefore national championship – contenders: Georgia (SEC East co-favorite); Florida (SEC East co-favorite); Bama (SEC West and overall SEC favorite). LSU (defending league and national champs, lost a lot in brain and player power); while talented Auburn will someday make the CFP I’d wager, the program to end the SEC record-length championship streak (7), when they lost to FSU before the existence of a College Football Playoff. Texas A&M is in my next tier of league programs and considered to be ascending, a full tier below that is a rebuilding still Tennessee.
Rear viewing for five seasons, Clemson has the best in-league mark of any Power 5 program, unchallenged in the ACC since FSU faded. Next up are Oklahoma and not-playing Ohio State, with mighty Alabama back in fourth in this revealing stat. Bama went 40-4 in the half decade versus the SEC. Those three remaining modern powers have to be considered contenders this year, with co-favorites for the Natty Ohio State vanquished. Leaving national co-favorite Clemson in a unique pole position, having won a title two seasons ago and holding an advantage in ease of CFP qualification over an Alabama who has “to face the gauntlet” annually. They used to say – they being Nick Saban – winning the SEC was harder than winning the national championship, but that is plainly no longer true.
LSU breaking through again did a lot for the league’s might, and it is of higher value to league member programs for anybody but Bama to win the league, with the league winning the title regardless of who gets in there. Therefore, Georgia finally besting Bama potentially, passing both them and LSU simultaneously and claiming a national crown for the previously-strongest but relatively longtime second best SEC East division, would be favorable to all league schools except Bama and realest Georgia rival Florida. To diversify the might of the dominant league further, that is; a Florida (or ultimately Tennessee) return ascension to the tip-top would likewise have the same effect. The league gets stronger with more than one program shining, especially when that program (Bama) has not fared well out of conference in their biggest games. It could be time for another shift of power in the SEC, and passing quite-possible one-year-wonders LSU, still feels much easier than toppling the evil empire from their throne. Bama is on no throne at all entering 2020.
Could Ol’ Georgia be next to wear the royal crown?