Report: SEC Football Coaches Had 'Heated' Call over Added 2020 Opponents

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 14, 2020

SEC Championship logo on the field during the Southeastern Conference Championship NCAA college football game against the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 in Atlanta. (Ric Tapia via AP)
Ric Tapia/Associated Press

The SEC adjusted its 2020 schedule to include an additional two inter-divisional opponents amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to multiple Division I-FBS conferences postponing their fall seasons and other leagues altering their slates to feature games that will entirely (or almost) exclusively feature conference foes. 

On that note, some SEC football coaches were particularly irked by how the two additional opponents were chosen and expressed their displeasure in a recent coaches' call, per ESPN's Chris Low and Alex Scarborough:

"The additional two cross-divisional opponents were announced last week without a thorough explanation from the league for how they were selected. Half of the league coaches expressed either on the call or to ESPN privately their frustration and/or anger over how the two additional games were chosen, with multiple coaches telling ESPN that the SEC was leaving itself open to the criticism of the whole process appearing 'corrupt.'"

The ESPN duo further reported that one coach asked how the SEC selected each opponent and that as many as four other coaches voiced their own concerns when the league's answer reportedly proved unsatisfactory to some members of the group.

Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, who first reported on the contentiousness of the meeting, relayed that at least five coaches expressed concern that the league couldn't produce a "formula" to explain how the opponent selections were decided.

"There just wasn't a lot of clarity and transparency on how they arrived where they did on the two extra games, and that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way," one coach told ESPN.

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"...The call got pretty wild. It would have been a good piece of reality TV."

Another coach also went so far as to say "favoritism was played," per ESPN.

The SEC's resulting decisions on teams' additional games raised some eyebrows upon their announcement. Of note, Missouri's extra two games feature matchups against defending national champion LSU and Alabama, which has won five national championships under head coach Nick Saban since 2009.

On the flip side, some SEC powers added some games for which they'll be clear favorites. Of note, Georgia now has Mississippi State and Arkansas, which combined to go 3-13 in conference play last year.

The SEC's slate will begin the week of Sept. 26.