LSU awaits two additions as SEC scheduling fallout hits Louisiana schools hard

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Ed Orgeron
Ed Orgeron prepares his LSU squad for plenty of unknowns in what will be a unique 2020 season (Photo: Terrill Weil).

The SEC announced Friday it would implement a conference-only football schedule which is set to begin on Sept. 26 with the conference championship game pushed back two weeks to Dec. 19 from the originally scheduled date of Dec. 5.

Teams will play 10 conference games, an increase from the normal eight-game league slate for the 14 SEC members split across two divisions (East and West).

When the revised schedule is announced, it will have been approved by league athletic directors.

For LSU, the huge question looming is which two Eastern Division teams will be added to an already challenging league schedule.

In addition, LSU will lose two home games, as a result.

The Tigers were scheduled to host UTSA, Texas and Nicholls. All of those games are now gone. LSU will add one home conference game, giving the Tigers five home games and five away games when the dust clears.

To make matters worse, LSU loses a huge money game against Rice at NRG Stadium in Houston. Per the contract with the Owls, LSU was to have received $3.5 million for that contest.

LSU has Florida as a permanent opponent from the Eastern Division. It does not get any tougher than that, at least over the past two decades. Florida is a national championship program and a regular contender for those honors. Only Georgia rivals the Gators in the East.

The Bulldogs are not on the 2020 LSU schedule, at least not at this point.

Should Georgia be added to the LSU schedule, it would present a gargantuan challenge for Ed Orgeron to navigate.

Already, the Tigers must travel to Gainesville and to Auburn. Of course, Alabama makes the trek to Baton Rouge.

Along with LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Auburn represent the top teams and programs in the league. The other SEC team to show up in preseason Top 25 rankings is Texas A&M and LSU must travel to College Station this season.

The Tigers are already scheduled to face four of the five best teams. Adding the fourth would put LSU at a huge disadvantage, compared to its competitors.

Alabama has LSU, Georgia, Auburn and Texas A&M on its 2020 schedule.

Will Florida be added to the ‘Bama slate?

If so, there will be equity between the Alabama and LSU schedules, a sore spot for Tiger fans of many years now with Florida being a regular Tiger opponent.

Auburn is in the same boat as Alabama, with LSU, Georgia, Texas A&M and the Crimson Tide on its schedule. Will Florida be added?

Georgia has games with Alabama, Auburn and Florida scheduled. Will the Bulldogs have to face LSU and/or Texas A&M as well?

As for Florida, the Gators have the easiest path, at this point.

Florida has LSU and Georgia on its schedule but no Alabama, Auburn or Texas A&M.

If the Gators add both Alabama schools or any combination of two of the three contenders, it would make the road to Atlanta and the SEC championship game much tougher. Adding one would still be manageable. Adding neither would give Florida a clear path to the conference title game.

As for the Aggies, they must face LSU, Alabama and Auburn but there are no games currently scheduled against Georgia or Florida. If both are added, it would be very tough for A&M. If one is added, it would make it tougher. If none are the two additions, the Aggies will be in an enviable position.

With all due respect to all SEC member institutions, schools that add Vanderbilt, Kentucky or Arkansas to their schedules should benefit greatly as opposed to those who add the six Top 25 ranked programs.

Aside from the SEC school issues, there is the domino effect which will hurt other Louisiana schools.

Five Louisiana schools are impacted by the SEC schedule changes, covering six games.

For Tulane, there was already the prospect of having lost its road game at Northwestern of the Big Ten.

Now, the Green Wave will not play Mississippi State at Starkville on Sept. 26 either.

For Nicholls, a huge payday was on the horizon at Tiger Stadium on Oct. 3 disappears.

For ULM, the hit is a double whammy. The Warkhawks lose a big money game at Georgia on Sept. 26, as well as a date at Arkansas on Nov. 21.

For the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, there will be no trip to Missouri on November 21.

For Louisiana Tech, the Bulldogs will not make the trip to Nashville to face Vanderbilt on November 21.

Here is hoping that Tulane and Southeastern Louisiana still get to square off to open the season on Sept. 3 at Yulman Stadium – one month from today.

While Power 5 conferences have largely set their plans for the coming season, other conferences have not finalized plans as of yet.

Power 5 conferences are changing but are not all on the same page.

The ACC added Notre Dame to its conference and conference schedules and will allow for one non-conference game.

The Big Ten and PAC-12 will play conference only contests, joining the SEC in that model.

The Big 12 has yet to decide but that decision is imminent.

Perhaps with the cancellations, Louisiana schools with open dates should consider scheduling each other to fill the void.

Regardless of what transpires, Louisiana schools have been impacted by the SEC and other Power Five conferences and may be impacted further before the 2020 season commences, assuming it does.

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