The upcoming college football season — if there will be one — could be headed to mostly conference games among power five conference schools.
That could mean that UGA’s season-opening game against Virginia and its regular season finale in Athens against Georgia Tech would be off the schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Soon after the Big Ten announced Thursday afternoon that it would not play any non-conference games this season, veteran college football reporter Brett McMurphy of Stadium said that the ACC is expected to go to a conference only schedule. The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman reported ACC coaches said such a move is not yet definite.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity was asked if he had word that the Sept. 7 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against Virginia in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium may be off. “Not yet,” he said.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement when asked about the conference’s plans: “The Southeastern Conference will continue to meet regularly with our campus leaders in the coming weeks, guided by medical advisors, to make the important decisions necessary to determine the best path forward related to the SEC fall sports. We recognize challenges ahead and know the well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and fans must remain at the forefront of those decisions.”
The ACC and Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game did not respond for requests to comment.
Georgia and Georgia Tech have played their football rivalry game every year since 1925.
The latest rapid movement with college schedules came a day after the Ivy League announced it won’t play football this fall.
Georgia’s non-conference schedule also includes games with East Tennessee State on Sept. 12 and Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 26.
“We fully expect to fulfill our contract with UGA,” Louisiana-Monroe athletic director Scott McDonald said.
The Sun Belt Conference school has a $1.75 million guarantee for the Georgia game and $1.5 million for another game this season with Arkansas.
UGA’s guarantee for the Chick-fil-A Game would have been $4.25 million with a regular gate but this year’s game if played would have been likely to have reduced attendance anyway.
If there are no non-conference games, Georgia would open the season on Sept. 19 at Alabama, but the SEC could add more conference games.
SEC athletic directors were scheduled to meet Monday.
Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said on option discussed is adding onto the usual eight games in conference, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Big Ten’s announcement came with a cautionary warning: “As we continue to focus on how to play this season in a safe and responsible way, based on the best advice of medical experts, we are also prepared not to play in order to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes should the circumstances so dictate.”