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College Football Should Never Go Back to Its Old Scheduling Practices After 2020

The Southeastern Conference officially announced Thursday it would eliminate all non-conference football games for the 2020 season due to COVID-19 and instead play a 10-game, conference-only schedule. The SEC's announcement made it the fourth conference among the Power Five to make such a change, with the Big 12 the only one yet to do so.

While we will lose out on several traditional rivalries between SEC schools and their in-state foes from the ACC and a couple other matchups like LSU-Texas and Tennessee-Oklahoma, this schedule also eliminates all the meaningless games against FCS and Sun Belt opponents of which SEC teams have grown so fond — and that should be the case going forward.

Declining college football attendance across the country has been a story for several years, yet seemingly every time you turn on a meaningful SEC game, there's not a seat to be had. However, turn on a game between *insert SEC team here* and The Citadel or Chattanooga and even the most passionate fans in the country will sit that one out. I can't tell you how many times I've roasted in the scorching September heat in Knoxville for the privilege of seeing Tennessee take on North Texas or Western Carolina.

With television being what it is now, why would anybody want to shell out $200 for tickets and spend an entire Saturday going to a game that's going to end 45-3 when they can stay home for free and also watch every other game across the country? And then you factor in that these SEC and other Power Five schools are paying these opponents upwards of $1 million to come — hopefully — get their ass kicked and it begs the question why this ever became a practice in the first place.

Though it would likely require giving up a seventh home date for many schools, I'd love to see the SEC and other Power Five conferences keep the 12-game regular season, with 10 conference games and two non-conference games which must be played against other Power Five teams. The money lost from a seventh home game would likely be offset by eliminating the cost of buy games and increased attendance in the non-conference matchups where you're playing an opponent people want to come see.

And if we're being honest, this would probably be pretty disastrous for many smaller college football teams which rely on those buy game checks to keep their programs running. And while that would certainly be a byproduct nobody wants to see, they'd just have to figure it out. It's not the job of the University of Alabama to keep Alabama A&M's football program in business.

While this pandemic has wreaked havoc across the sports landscape, it has given us a couple opportunities to change some practices and question why we ever did things that way in the first place. Let's have more fun college football games and quit spending a third of the season playing games that don't mean anything.

Plus, this way Tennessee would never lose to Georgia State again.