Auburn football will no longer be playing in the 2020 Chick-Fil-A kickoff game.
As we get closer to when the college football season was originally scheduled to happen, more news keeps rolling in about how the upcoming season will be different — if it even happens at all.
The obvious reason for the assumed delay of the season is the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has killed over 132,000 people in the United States as of writing.
College football officials are scrambling to try and salvage a season even if it is an augmented, shortened version of what it usually is.
On Thursday, Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic reported that the Big Ten is expected to go to a conference-only schedule for football this fall. ESPN later reported that the same would be true for all fall sports.
Following in the Big Ten’s lead, it was reported that both the ACC and the Pac-12 would do the same for their fall sports. And while Auburn doesn’t have any Big Ten opponents on their 2020 schedule, they were scheduled to face off against the North Carolina Tarheels in week two.
The matchup was originally scheduled to take place on September 12 for the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The game was supposed to be one of the best non-conference battles of the season as both teams were expected to be ranked by the time they faced off.
Last season, the Tarheels went 7-6 behind the arm of true freshman QB Sam Howell and ended the season with a Military Bowl victory over Temple.
2019 also marked the return of UNC head coach Mack Brown who led the Texas Longhorns to national prominence in the 2000s and a BCS National Championship in 2005 and a 158-48 record over 16 seasons.
As for the Tigers, while the SEC hasn’t followed the lead of the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them move to a conference-only model for the 2020 season.
Removing all non-conference games for Auburn would leave the team with an eight-game schedule and eliminate opponents such as Alcorn State, UNC, Southern Miss and UMass.