The SEC announced Thursday afternoon that its league’s presidents have adopted a plan to play a 10-game, conference-only schedule this fall. That season will begin on Sept. 26 with the conference title game slated for Dec. 19.
This, of course, means that there will be no Louisville-Kentucky meeting on the gridiron in 2020, unless the two teams were paired against one another in a bowl game.
On Wednesday, the ACC opened the door for some its programs to maintain their highest-profile rivalry series by allowing for one week of non-conference play, so long as said game was played in the program’s home state. This set the stage for the traditional rivalry games between Louisville and Kentucky, South Carolina and Clemson, Florida and Florida State, and Georgia and Georgia Tech — which has been played every year since 1924 — to go on as originally planned. Not anymore.
“I fully support the SEC’s decision to move to conference-only games, though we are disappointed we won’t have the chance to compete with Louisville for the Governor’s Cup this season,” Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. “That series means a great deal to the Commonwealth and we look forward to working with Louisville to continue the series in seasons to come.”
During a teleconference earlier in the day on Thursday, U of L athletic director predicted that such a scenario might play out.
“Now it’s going to be laying out the dates and I think some of that too, since we’re in a plus-one situation we’ll reach out to a potential other opponent,” Tyra said. “We had Murray State and Western Kentucky and Kentucky on the schedule. The SEC may dictate whether we get to play Kentucky or not. But if not, if (Murray and WKU) can fit into their schedule and fit the medical guidelines, they’re candidates to be played.
“If they can’t, then we’ll look for another school to fill that role.”
Although Tyra didn’t rule out the possibility of scheduling another Power 5 opponent, maintaining a scheduled game against Western Kentucky or Murray State seems like the more likely outcome here.
I’m all for getting Bobby Petrino andMissouri State in the fold, but that’s just me.
If there’s one positive that comes out of not playing Kentucky in football this season, it could be getting staggered hosting years for the football/basketball series. Hosting both in the same year was fine when they were four months apart, but it’s felt a little bit jumped with them only being four weeks (or one week sometimes with the women’s game) or so apart these last few years.