By Matthew Soderberg | News Editor
The season-opening football game between Baylor and the University of Mississippi was cancelled Thursday. The decision was made by the Southeastern Conference as it moved to a 10-game in-conference schedule for member schools.
The game would have been a duel between two newly hired head coaches in the Ole Miss Rebels’ Lane Kiffin and the Bears’ Dave Aranda. Baylor released a statement addressing the schedule change via the football team’s social media accounts.
“We are aware of the SEC’s decision to play a conference-only schedule. We will continue to evaluate all potential scheduling options in coordination with the Big 12.”
The Big 12 now takes the role as the only Power Five conference to abstain from announcing a collective schedule change. The four other conferences have all moved their start dates back, with most also banning non-conference games.
Thursday’s announcement by the SEC came within minutes of another cancellation announcement as the Big 12’s Football Media Day will no longer be held on Monday. Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement that the purpose of the event would be compromised.
“A media day is intended to talk football and the prospects for the season,” Bowlsby said. “Part of that discussion is who you will be playing and when. With the on-going consideration of scheduling models by our Board of Directors, this is the best course of action at this time.”
As other conferences move to conference-only schedules, the Big 12 is left with the potential of less games on the schedule than their peers. Since 2012, the Big 12 has featured 10 teams, meaning each team would only have nine games on a conference-only schedule.
There was speculation on Twitter that Brigham Young University could join up to meet the 10-game standard released by neighboring conferences. BYU would be available as six of the games on their schedule have been cancelled, but there is little evidence that there are any legs for that rumor to stand on. However, the rumor does line up with the sentiment from Bowlsby’s statement Thursday.