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How the SEC can complete its schedule

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The SEC office will have to move some games around if it wants everyone to play a full ten-game schedule.

NCAA Football: SEC Media Day Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The SEC has mostly gotten through its modified, ten-game conference schedule with a handful of postponements, but so far they haven’t had to cancel any games.

And assuming that nobody else has any more COVID outbreaks (not a safe assumption), they won’t have to, either. It will require moving some games around and making use of the extra date of December 19 (the date of the SEC Championship Game), but it can be done. Here’s how.

Alabama, Florida, and LSU

We’ll start with Alabama and Florida — the two teams likely to play one another in the SEC Championship Game on December 19. That means that while each of these teams only has one game to make up, they have the constraint of having to complete their schedules by December 12. They also have the additional constraint of both having to make up a game against the same team: LSU.

LSU is currently scheduled to play Ole Miss on December 5, and that will have to be moved to December 19 so that the Tigers can get in their makeup games against Alabama and Florida. On December 5, Alabama is currently scheduled to play Arkansas, while Florida has Tennessee on the schedule. Arkansas has a bit more flexibility thanks to having only one game to make up to the Volunteers’ two, so Alabama-Arkansas could be moved to December 12, leaving Alabama to play LSU on December 5. Then, Florida would play LSU on December 12. That’s solved.

Everyone Else

Aside from LSU, three additional teams have two games to make up: Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas A&M.

Moving Alabama-Arkansas to December 12 leaves December 19 as the only date available for Missouri to make up its game against Arkansas. Likewise, moving LSU-Ole Miss to December 19 would mean that Texas A&M has to make up its game against Ole Miss on the 12th; that leaves Texas A&M-Tennessee to be played on the 19th. Missouri-Georgia and Tennessee-Vanderbilt — the only makeup games for Georgia and Vanderbilt, respectively — would then be played on the 12th.

That leaves a standalone makeup game between Auburn and Mississippi State to be played on the 12th; this has the added bonus of allowing Auburn to complete its schedule by the 12th should Auburn somehow win the West. (The same is true of Georgia in the East, while there’s simply no way around the possibility that Texas A&M could win the West while having played only nine games.) Kentucky and South Carolina have (so far) gotten through their entire schedule without any postponements and play one another on December 5, to boot, so both will complete their schedules barring any additional outbreaks.

So, here is what the next three weeks following November 28 would look like:

December 5

Alabama at LSU

Texas A&M at Auburn

Florida at Tennessee

Vanderbilt at Georgia

South Carolina at Kentucky

Missouri at Mississippi State

BYE: Arkansas, Ole Miss

December 12

Alabama at Arkansas

LSU at Florida

Georgia at Missouri

Tennessee at Vanderbilt

Ole Miss at Texas A&M

Auburn at Mississippi State

BYE: Kentucky, South Carolina

December 19

SEC Championship Game (presumably Alabama vs. Florida)

Arkansas vs. Missouri

Texas A&M at Tennessee

Ole Miss at LSU