The SEC announced on Thursday that the conference will move to a 10-game conference-only schedule for the 2020 college football season. The league-wide start to the season will be on September 26th, and the SEC Championship Game will be played on December 19th at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. All schools will receive one mid-season open date and an open date on December 12th, the weekend before the title game.
“Today’s announcement by the Southeastern Conference provides important clarity as it relates to the 2020 football season,” Tennessee Athletics Director Phillip Fulmer said in a statement Thursday. “The league office is currently developing a revised schedule.
“A tremendous amount of thought and discussion went into making what we believe is a responsible decision on scheduling format, and it’s exciting to be making progress toward competition. Our student-athletes and coaches are working hard to prepare while prioritizing health and safety. There are still several logistical unknowns, but we appreciate Vol Nation being patient and sticking with us as we continue to work through these unique circumstances.”
The SEC’s decision to move to a conference-only schedule means that Tennessee’s season-opener against Charlotte on Sept. 5, its trip to Norman to face Oklahoma on Sept. 12 and its games against Furman and Troy will not take place this season.
Tennessee’s six SEC East opponents that they face every year, as well as its two-cross divisional opponents (Alabama and Arkansas), will make up eight games on the 10-game schedule. According to Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, “a separate scheduling model – composed by the league office using strength of schedule – will determine the two additional opponents for 2020.”
Tennessee is currently awaiting word of the exact details of the 2020 schedule.
“Our next important reference point is a decision on capacity at Neyland Stadium,” Fulmer said. “We plan to coordinate with state and local officials on gameday attendance, understanding that potential limitations could change from week to week once the season begins. This underscores the importance of the public practicing healthy habits statewide.”
Fulmer added that Tennessee has been working through plans for several different capacity scenarios and ticket allocation strategies.