It’s been a whirlwind offseason for college football, just ask SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. The SEC is scheduled to kick off this weekend as the calendar approaches the end of September.
The Big 12 and ACC already got underway and the Big Ten is ready to come back in October but Sankey wasn’t always confident. Despite pressing forward as a conference, the SEC commissioner was still nervous about getting football underway.
“Yes, that’s called summertime for me this year … absolutely (I’ve been nervous),” Sankey said. “It’s just different. I was nervous last week before we had some soccer games to play, and cross country run, just because we haven’t competed in this environment. The football experience takes that up about 50 levels higher.”
Appearing on Alabama’s second preview radio show last week, Sankey said the SEC will reassess next year’s plan for scheduling after the season is complete. Until then, there’s simply too many unknowns.
“It is a strange year and it has to be understood in that context,” Sankey said of the 2020 season, as transcribed by AL.com. “It will be a learning experience for all of us to play 10 games. I appreciate the input on nine games, but it creates some oddities on home and away balance. I don’t know that that’s really ever really been a great focus.
“The terms of playing 10 games were really dictated to us by the presence of COVID-19 and trying to think through what the best way to name an SEC champion this year [was] and it was control our schedule. We haven’t varied from that in the future.
“The reality is we don’t know what next year will look like, to be honest. We hear a lot about vaccine and this and that, immunity, but I don’t know what next year will look like. I hope that it’s back to normal and if it is back to normal, our plan is to play the eight conference games.”
As far as the weekend slate coming up, ESPN college football host Paul Finebaum is circling an intriguing game on his calendar to kick off the SEC season.
“Mississippi State at LSU,” Finebaum said. “Mike Leach in the SEC, playing the defending national champs. What’s interesting about LSU, who is not there? Let’s start with Joe Burrow…the two coordinates are gone. It’s a complete wipeout and they’re still a preseason top 10 and the fans think they’re going to do it again. Whether they will or not I’m not too sure. But I really can’t wait to see Mike Leach, he has a graduate transfer quarterback from the west coast. It may not decide the national championship but it’s intriguing to say the least.”
Mississippi State and LSU are scheduled to kick off on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.
247Sports’ Brad Crawford contributed to this story.