All in all, that was a pretty reasonable move by the Southeastern Conference in deciding to push back the start of the football season and play a 10-game schedule of conference games only.

Predictable? Yes. Perfect? Hardly.

But it makes sense, particularly the push back to Sept. 26, which allows more caution in preseason work and lets them learn a little more from other sports' starts and restarts.

The SEC championship was moved back two weeks to Dec. 19. That gives each school one open date in the middle of the season and a conference-wide open date on Dec. 12.

Wise move. Gives them some scheduling flexibility since it seems inevitable that some games will be have to moved around to get through the season.

The conference presidents who voted Thursday just forgot one thing.

One game, actually.

Would it have been that tough to do the "plus-one" model, which would allow for one — just one — nonconference game?

That's generally the exact number of worthwhile games SEC teams schedule out of the league anyway, and it means LSU won't host Texas in what would have been a rematch of one of college football's most entertaining games last season.

Otherwise, all the SEC did was cut out the fat to produce a leaner, if shortened, season.

So LSU fans, assuming they would have been allowed in the stadium at all, won't get to see the long-awaited grudge match with Texas-San Antonio to open the season.

Nicholls State won't be making its first trip to Tiger Stadium. And LSU fans won't get to go Houston to see the Tigers play … Rice, I guess it was.

Overall, though, it should make for better football. The SEC might even find out it likes a 10-game conference season. If so, then maybe we haven't been quarantined in vain.

The argument has always been that it's too rough and far too tough of a league to allow 10 chances to beat each other up.

But if they can get through that gauntlet in the midst of a worldwide pandemic with most vital limbs intact, then maybe it is doable for the future.

Don't count on it.

Just enjoy real games every week while they last.

Yet even if they had to move the season openers up to Sept. 19 to do it, that's still two extra weeks before the season would start.

In fact, there could be serious repercussions, mostly on the unforgiving message boards and that blasted social media machine.

The ACC scheduling plan, which surprised the SEC when it was announced Wednesday, allows one nonconference game — mostly to preserve traditional rivalry games like Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Clemson-South Carolina and Kentucky-Lousville.

Now, the ACC can say the SEC is avoiding it or that the high-brow SEC rejected it only because the ACC thought of it first.

Advantage, ACC.

Don't laugh. These things are an important part of college football.

Meanwhile, the SEC did not announce which additional two conference games will be added to each school's schedule.

Like most of society's fun stuff these days, that's TBA.

You already knew that in the "old normal," the traditional eight-game SEC schedules, each team plays all six of its divisional rivals, plus one permanent rival from the other division while rotating another through each year.

Warning: When the SEC expanded to 14 teams in 2012, it took most of the nation's computers and seemingly forever and a day for the conference to figure out a revised scheduling plan.

But one fairly simple solution for this crazy year, one that has been rumored, would be for each school to add the next two cross-divisional opponents coming up on its schedule the next two seasons (if they were cherry-picking from 30 or 40 years from now, LSU might get some proof that Missouri did, in fact, join the SEC.)

Instead, if this plan comes to fruition, LSU this year would add games at Kentucky and at home against Tennessee.

Pretty square deal if you're the Tigers.

The SEC-Office-is-in-Birmingham conspiracists will wonder what kind of sweetheart deal the league would be arranging for Alabama, of course. The Tide would get — wait for it — Vanderbilt, but also Florida. So even the most skeptical of Tigers couldn't complain about it too much.

But what if you were Florida, which was previously scheduled to play LSU and Ole Miss from the West?

This year, in that scenario, it would add Texas A&M and Alabama to the mix, which would seem to complicate the Gators' master plan to dethrone Georgia in the SEC East.

Because …

Georgia would add Arkansas and Mississippi State.

Coincidences happen.

But at least the conference has plan.

Now, if they can just play the games.

That's, uh, another one of those dreaded TBAs.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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