New SEC football schedule maintains some traditions, offers some surprises

Crimson Tide photos / Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith looks for running room during last year's Iron Bowl at Auburn. The Crimson Tide and Tigers will play again this year on Thanksgiving week, which is the next to last week of this year's season.

The Alabama-Tennessee game remained on Oct. 24 and the Alabama-Auburn game remained on Nov. 28 in the adjusted Southeastern Conference football schedule released Monday night.

There were, however, plenty of rivalry games that moved significantly as the result of the SEC's delayed 10-game schedule consisting solely of league contests that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Auburn-Georgia matchup will now be played on Oct. 3, which is the second Saturday of this year's season, while Tennessee will conclude its regular season by hosting Florida on Dec. 5.

The Gators and Volunteers last played in a season finale back in 2001, when Tennessee prevailed 34-32 in a riveting contest in Gainesville that had to be rescheduled due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"It will be a tough 10 games, and you'll have to be at your best every week," Volunteers coach Jeremy Pruitt said Monday night on a Zoom call. "You'll have to sustain and stay healthy, and obviously this will be the first time any of us will have experienced this. It will be a great challenge that we're looking forward to."

Tennessee will open at South Carolina on Sept. 26 before hosting Missouri on Oct. 3 and then traveling to Georgia on Oct. 10. The league's most anticipated matchup - Georgia at Alabama - was originally set to occur on Sept. 19 but will now take place Oct. 17.

The SEC managed to maintain Thanksgiving week rivalries such as Alabama-Auburn, Arkansas-Missouri, LSU-Texas A&M, Ole Miss-Mississippi State and Tennessee-Vanderbilt, but that is the penultimate weekend of this year's season. The week after the Iron Bowl, Alabama will travel to Arkansas while Auburn will host Texas A&M, and Georgia will end its season against Vanderbilt after opening last year against the Commodores.

"This is a year about adjusting," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said Monday afternoon. "The teams that adjust will have an advantage. Usually going into preseason camp, you have the first three opponents broken down, so we'll be playing catch-up, as will everyone else in our league.

"This isn't a time for tradition."

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

Southeastern Conference football schedule

Sept. 26Alabama at MissouriGeorgia at ArkansasKentucky at AuburnMississippi State at LSUFlorida at Ole MissTennessee at South CarolinaVanderbilt at Texas A&MOct. 3Texas A&M at AlabamaArkansas at Mississippi StateAuburn at GeorgiaSouth Carolina at FloridaOle Miss at KentuckyLSU at VanderbiltMissouri at TennesseeOct. 10Alabama at Ole MissArkansas at AuburnFlorida at Texas A&MTennessee at GeorgiaMississippi State at KentuckyMissouri at LSUSouth Carolina at VanderbiltOct. 17Georgia at AlabamaOle Miss at ArkansasAuburn at South CarolinaLSU at FloridaKentucky at TennesseeTexas A&M at Mississippi StateVanderbilt at MissouriOct. 24Alabama at TennesseeAuburn at Ole MissMissouri at FloridaGeorgia at KentuckySouth Carolina at LSUOct. 31Mississippi State at AlabamaArkansas at Texas A&MLSU at AuburnKentucky at MissouriOle Miss at VanderbiltNov. 7Tennessee at ArkansasFlorida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)Vanderbilt at Mississippi StateTexas A&M at South CarolinaNov. 14Alabama at LSUArkansas at FloridaAuburn at Mississippi StateGeorgia at MissouriVanderbilt at KentuckySouth Carolina at Ole MissTexas A&M at TennesseeNov. 21Kentucky at AlabamaLSU at ArkansasTennessee at AuburnFlorida at VanderbiltMississippi State at GeorgiaOle Miss at Texas A&MMissouri at South CarolinaNov. 28Auburn at AlabamaArkansas at MissouriKentucky at FloridaGeorgia at South CarolinaLSU at Texas A&MMississippi State at Ole MissTennessee at VanderbiltDec. 5Alabama at ArkansasTexas A&M at AuburnFlorida at TennesseeVanderbilt at GeorgiaSouth Carolina at KentuckyOle Miss at LSUMissouri at Mississippi StateDec. 12Open dateDec. 19SEC championship game (Atlanta)