• Editor’s note: There are more questions than answers regarding when, and how, college football will begin again. Each week until next season, The Transcript will produce its Watch List to monitor developments, setbacks or points of interest surrounding college football’s anticipated return.
No schedule is safe in college football.
The Big 12 has yet to announce any changes to its 2020 slate, but the league’s Power 5 counterparts are reshaping their seasons amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and might force them to do the same.
The Big Ten, Pac-12 eliminated nonconference games this year. It’s unclear what their new formats will entail, but the Atlantic Coast Conference, which moved to do the same, offered a glimpse of what could be coming for the rest of college football.
The ACC unveiled a revised scheduling model for its 2020 season, which will start the week of Sept. 7-12, the league announced Wednesday.
Each ACC school will play 10 conference games (five home, five away) and one nonconference contest.
“Today’s decision was made after months of thoughtful planning by numerous individuals throughout the conference,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford in a release. “The Board’s decision presents a path, if public health guidance allows, to move forward with competition.
“Our institutions are committed to taking the necessary measures to facilitate the return in a safe and responsible manner. We recognize that we may need to be nimble and make adjustments in the future. We will be as prepared as possible should that need arise.”
The ACC’s programs will be responsible for scheduling their lone nonconference game. But they will be limited to either a home game or road contest against an in-state school that meets the league’s medical protocol requirements.
The league also increased by one, welcoming Notre Dame for the 2020 season. The Irish, a Football Bowl Subdivision independent, will play a 10-game ACC schedule and is eligible for the conference’s championship game. The revenue from Notre Dame's television deal with NBC will be shared equally by all 15 institutions.
Like the Big 12’s current model, the ACC will pit the two teams with the best winning percentage in its conference championship game, which will be played either Dec. 12 or 19.
College football lacks a uniform voice, but the ACC might be a blueprint for the rest of the conferences.
• Trending up: Barring a delay announced today or tomorrow, OU will begin fall camp on Friday.
So far, OU’s health protocols are working. The program hasn’t had a new COVID-19 case in three weeks. It’s a promising trend as OU’s preparations for the 2020 season transition beyond summer conditioning.
• Trending down: OU is in danger of losing its game against Tennessee. SI.com's Ross Dellenger reports the Southeastern Conference is moving closer to a conference-only schedule for the 2020 season.
The SEC's presidents are expected to discuss the scheduling model Thursday, according to the report.
• Dates to consider: Aug. 3 — The Big 12 will hold a virtual media day, which will be available to stream online through ESPN+. The Big 12's presidents will also discuss scheduling models Monday night, according to The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach.
Aug. 29 — OU moved its season opener against Missouri State up seven days to Week 0. Both OU and Missouri State petitioned the NCAA for the date change.
• Notable: While OU fans have ample reason to be excited for football to return sooner than expected on Aug. 29, pay-per-view might be their only option to watch the Sooners’ game against Missouri State.
OU athletics director Joe Castiglione told reporters the university hasn’t finalized how many fans will be allowed at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium this season. It could vary from no fans to limited capacity.
Castiglione was also asked if OU still planned to broadcast its game against Missouri State on pay-per-view. “Short answer is yes,” Castiglione said. “But we are just in this unique time period that you have to expect anything.”
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