SEC shuffles games, pushes back Arkansas-Missouri, UT-Vandy

Sports

Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman, center, gestures on the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against LSU, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference has shuffled its schedule, pushing back the Arkansas-Missouri and Tennessee-Vanderbilt games that had been set for Saturday.

The league announced Monday that it has postponed the Arkansas-Missouri game because of a combination of positive tests, contact tracing and the resulting quarantining within the Arkansas program.

Vanderbilt and Missouri will now meet Saturday to make up a game that was postponed on Oct. 17.

The SEC is still trying to get in 10 games for all 14 teams, and last week reserved the right to revise the schedule up until 8 p.m. CT on Mondays.

No date has been set for Arkansas-Missouri or Tennessee-Vanderbilt, but Dec. 19 is a possibility for teams not playing in the league championship game.

“As we continue to adapt to the current realities, it’s important to remain flexible as we move forward in the final weeks of the season,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “Contact tracing continues to be the biggest contributing factor to game interruptions.

“We will continue to manage the remaining weeks of the football schedule to allow for as many games to be played as possible.”

Arkansas at Missouri is the sixth game scheduled for this weekend that has been postponed because of COVID-19 issues with one of the teams involved, including the Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State.

In Conference USA on Monday, Louisiana Tech at FIU was canceled and Western Kentucky at Charlotte was pushed back from Saturday to Dec. 1. That game will have an unusual 10:30 a.m. ET kickoff time on a Tuesday.

In the past two weeks, 33 games involving FBS teams have been postponed or canceled, about 27% of the schedule.

In the Big Ten, Minnesota announced it won’t practice on Tuesday, conducting all-virtual meetings instead because of presumptive COVID-19 positive tests within the program.

The Gophers are scheduled to play Saturday at Wisconsin, which has already had two games canceled due to the virus. The university said the team’s goal is to return to regular practice on Wednesday. Several Minnesota players were sidelined and three staff members were quarantined for last week’s game against Purdue.

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