Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin
Nov 27, 2017; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin talks with media as he introduces Dan Mullen as head coach at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Impact of Conference-Only Schedule on Gators

The SEC moved to a conference-only schedule Thursday night. The decision included pushing back the start of the season to Sept. 26 and playing only 10 games. This change impacts the Florida Gators season, as a member of the SEC. Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin addressed this changed in his Thursday press conference via zoom.

No Florida-Florida State

The biggest loss on the schedule is Florida State. While it’s an in-state rival, FSU is in the ACC. Florida and FSU have played every year with no breaks since the annual game started in 1958.

Stricklin said the loss of this game is due to the shortened schedule and the want to get in more conference games.

Stricklin said he spoke with FSU AD David Coburn on the matter, but Coburn said nothing of note.

When asked if legislators might step in to make this game happen, Stricklin said Florida is bound to the SEC’s decision. This likely means that an effort by state legislatures would not do much.

Potential Schedule

With the SEC’s decision, four games on Florida’s schedule went out the window. Before Sept. 26, Florida was scheduled to play Eastern Washington and South Alabama. Think of it as pushing back the schedule eliminated those games and Kentucky will be rescheduled. After Sept. 26, Florida was scheduled to play New Mexico State and Florida State. Because of the change, those games will be replaced with two more SEC games.

Now, the SEC needs to determine these extra opponents.

Stricklin said the already scheduled eight conference games remain on the schedule. Stricklin said he hopes to have a schedule in the coming days. However, the SEC has not given a definitive timeline for releasing a schedule. He said thinks the SEC will look at the current crossover games and decide the other opponents in a way that would allow for a balanced schedule.

Stricklin said he knows not every team will like their schedule. But, the Gators will play who they get, and they will be excited about the opportunity.

There had been speculation on Twitter that the SEC would pick opponents based on the upcoming crossover games. For Florida, these opponents are Alabama and Texas A&M. However, Stricklin said this is nothing but “total speculation and spitballin’.”

Stricklin said he does not think there will be any lobbying for specific opponents. The league might not get a schedule made if that were to be. He said he thinks the league will give them a schedule and is confident schools will be happy with what they get.

If there are any concerns, those would be addressed when shown the draft of the schedule.

About Harrison Smajovits

Harrison is a sports coordinator at ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF. He served as a beat writer for Florida Gators football for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He also contributes to WRUF's Gainesville Sports Center segments and makes appearances on the Clash on Harp on Sports. Harrison has been a content writer for WRUF since January 2019 as well.

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