Could COVID-19 keep the Tennessee football Volunteers from playin non-conference games?
A major development in FBS play took place Thursday as reports dropped that the Big Ten would be moving to conference-only games for Fall sports. Questions about Tennessee football and the Southeastern Conference immediately came into play.
Well, it only got worse after Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic tweeted that the Pac-12 was planning to follow suit and Brett McMurphy of Stadium tweeted that the ACC would follow suit. That left the SEC and the Big 12 as the only Power Five conferences waiting on what to do.
Of course, if neither of those schools take action, that leaves Tennessee football’s sole non-conference Power Five game in tact, at the Oklahoma Sooners. Both teams are in conferences that have not yet made a move.
However, that could all change soon enough. Brandon Marcello of 247Sports reported Thursday that the SEC would be discussing non-conference play soon. According to the report, no discussions about suspending non-conference play will take place until next week.
If the ACC follows through as expected, then numerous SEC schools already figure to be affected. After all, the Georgia Bulldogs vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Kentucky Wildcats vs. Louisville Cardinals, Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles and South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Clemson Tigers are annual SEC/ACC matchups that now will not be played.
Georgia was also set to face the Virginia Cavaliers, the Auburn Tigers were set to face the North Carolina Tar Heels, the Mississippi State Bulldogs were set to face the N.C. State Wolfpack, the Texas A&M Aggies were set to face the Colorado Buffaloes and the Alabama Crimson Tide were set to face the USC Trojans. Those appear to be major non-conference games off the table as well.
The Arkansas Razorbacks facing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish could be in question, as Notre Dame is an ACC affiliate, so we don’t know for sure if this plan applies to them. Simply put, we don’t know how it’s all going to shake out. All we know for sure is this news calls into question Tennessee football’s marquee non-conference game but doesn’t confirm anything.