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SB Nation Reacts: Fans Not Thrilled By Conference-Only Football

Welcome once again to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NCAA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Georgia Bulldogs fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.

As the start of the normal college football season draws closer, schools and conferences are still scrambling to put together a 2020 schedule.

Wednesday, the Big Ten released conference-only schedules for all 14 teams. Other leagues (including the SEC) have made similar decisions, or at least dramatically cut back on non-conference games. Fans, however, hope this is a one-year trend.

According to results from the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, more than half of NCAA football fans don’t want schedules to focus on conference games beyond this season.

While focusing on conference games was a relatively easy fix for most teams, not every school had that option. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish, notoriously independent, instead came to an agreement with the ACC for the 2020 season.

Notre Dame competes in the ACC for other sports, but has remained independent for football. This year, however, they have agreed to an ACC schedule. Nationally, fans hope this becomes the new reality going forward. More than two-thirds of fans said they hope Notre Dame stays in the ACC permanently.

ACC fans specifically were even more in favor of the concept, with 88% of fans from ACC schools voting in favor. Notre Dame had long been linked to the Big Ten. But 59% of Big Ten fans are still in favor of the midwestern team staying in the ACC.

On the other side of things, Notre Dame fans dramatically disagree. Nearly 90% of Notre Dame fans think the team should again be independent after this season, presumably because they want to get back to playing New Mexico and Bowling Green.

Georgia is among the teams that has scheduled the most aggressively out-of-conference over the next decade. For years writers in this space have called for the ‘Dawgs to schedule big, intersectional matchups, and Kirby Smart and Greg McGarity have done just that. We don’t frankly know how the scheduling chaos of 2020 will spill into future seasons. But it appears from this limited sample that college football fans aren’t relishing a reversion to regionalism.

To vote in the Reacts surveys and have your voice heard each week, sign up here.

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