Dooley: SEC schedule a template to COVID-19 ravaged year


Today is a sad day in some ways and we’ll ignore the SEC-bashers who are crowing about how the league got played by the ACC. (It didn’t and I’ll get to that later).

It’s sad because Florida is not going to play FSU in 2020 if there is a 2020 season. 

You just hate to give up those easy games.

We won’t know the other two games Florida is playing in the fall until the SEC figures it all out, but I guarantee you at a minimum one of those teams is going to be a lot more formidable than FSU under a first-year coach and major holes throughout the roster.

In fact, unless the Gators end up with a Feleipe Franks game against Arkansas, both might be better teams.

With the SEC announcing it would play 10 games and only conference games, the league did what was best for the membership. Florida wanted that Florida State game to be played, but for the four rivalry games to be played, the other 10 teams would have had to scramble to find an opponent.

 But that’s not the reason the game isn’t going to be played.

The SEC wants an open date before its conference championship game, which has been moved back to Dec. 19. This is a smart move because it gives the schedule some flexibility if a team has to take a week off because of virus issues.

I said all along that the schedule that would be released this week would be a template. It could change often or not at all.

But the SEC now has two open dates for some wiggle room.

Yes, the ACC might have played some “dirty pool” (as one high-ranking SEC official said to me) in releasing its schedule the way it did on Wednesday. As a parting shot, the retiring John Swofford was able to make the SEC look as if it was ducking his league.

In fact, the SEC and ACC were sharing info on the new schedules and the ACC knew ahead of time that there was an SEC plan to go to conference games only. In fact, don’t be surprised if the ACC eliminates that “and-1” game when it releases the dates for all of its conference games.

All that really matters — and I’m talking in a strictly football sense — is that we have games starting on Sept. 26 in the SEC. The other conferences will be warmups for America’s Conference, which will now have 11 straight weekends of intrigue and intensity.

Excuse me if I am allowing myself to get a little fired up.

We will wait to see how this schedule works out and I don’t think it will be purely geographic because that certainly would not be fair to some schools, most notably a Florida team that would add Alabama and Auburn to a schedule with LSU already on it.

I’m just guessing, but I would bet on Auburn because it is the closest school to Gainesville. And perhaps Arkansas because that would balance it out. There is talk that it could be Alabama and Texas A&M, which would kind of blow Dan Mullen’s dream schedule out of the water.

Who knows for sure? 

All we know is that we have a template.

No complaining permitted.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at