SEC To Consider Schedule Changes
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive told Associated Press sports editors in the Southeast that the university leaders would vote on one of four proposals (and potentially other possible structures) prior to the annual SEC Spring Meeting beginning May 27.
The basic four include keeping the current format of eight conference games – the six division opponents, one traditional opponent from the other division, and one rotating opponent from the other division.
The other possibilities are:
Eight games without a permanent extradivision opponent; nine games with one extradivision permanent opponent and two rotation; and nine games with no extradivision opponent. "And maybe one off-shoot of that," Slive said.
Schools, naturally, will consider the proposal that it feels is best for itself.A guess is that Bama would prefer the nine-game schedule with one permanent opponent from the other division.
The two primary victims of a change to a format with no permanent extradivision opponent would be Alabama vs. Tennessee, which is a meeting of the two teams that have won the most games and most championships and have the most tradition and a game that has had the greatest bearing on the SEC championship since the conference was formed in 1933; and Georgia vs. Auburn, which is the oldest continuing rivalry in the Deep South.
For the most part, the SEC's permanent opponents across division lines have little meaning. They are Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt, Arkansas vs. Missouri, South Carolina vs. Texas A&M, Florida vs. LSU, Mississippi State vs. Kentucky.
The reason for having football divisions is to have two champions to play in the SEC Championship Game, a huge moneymaker for the league. The conference has done away with divisions in basketball and league teams play only 18 SEC games – the same number the teams played when there was a 10-team league. There are no divisions in softball, but baseball does play West and East.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban favors more conference games. He said that when the league expanded from 12 to 14 that there should have been an expansion of conference games. The most notable opponent of permanent extradivision rivals has been Florida, which objects to playing LSU every year.
SEC teams currently play four non-conference games, Most play at least three cupcakes.
Alabama opens the season vs. West Virginia at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Aug. 31. Bama's other three non-conference games are against Florida Atlantic, Southern Miss, and Western Carolina. In addition to Tennessee, the Tide will host Florida from the Eastern Division.
There would seem to be no support for the ‘BAMA Magazine/BamaMag.com proposal of each conference team playing 10 conference games and two non-conference games. The 10-game league format would be six intradivision opponents, one permanent extradivision opponent, and three rotating extradivision opponents. The advantage (in addition to getting rid of one or more cupcake non-conference game) would be that a player on an SEC team would play every other team within two years and in every other stadium within four years.
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