SEC Football: Scheduling Woes Need New Approach

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The SEC head coaches voted 13-1 during the annual meeting in Destin to keep an eight game conference schedule; Alabama’s Nick Saban was the only proponent of playing nine games. Steve Spurrier suggested that the conference allow members to play each other in what amounted to a non-conference game, with the outcome not affecting the standings. The SEC has struggled to incorporate Missouri and Texas A&M into the regular scheduling format and still preserve rivalries that date back decades before the East and West divisions were established.

With media days on the horizon and a little more than two months before the first kick, let’s explore another possibility.

Why not move Auburn to the East and Tennessee to the West?

This would allow the Tide and Tigers to still play every year as their permanent cross divisional rivalry. It would assure the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry,” the annual Georgia – Auburn game would continue with the two becoming divisional foes as would Alabama and Tennessee. The Vols would get Vanderbilt as their permanent East opponent and LSU would keep the game they have with Florida.

Georgia and Mississippi State would settle who the top Dawgs are.  The rest of the annual matchups would be Arkansas – Kentucky, Ole Miss – South Carolina and Texas A&M – Missouri.

The eight game conference schedules would remain with each team picking up a home and home series with another cross divisional team that would rotate every two years. For example, Georgia would play Alabama one year at home, Arkansas the next on the road followed by Alabama on the road and Arkansas at home. The next four years would rotate between Ole Miss and Tennessee followed by LSU and Texas A&M.

As a fan, I would much rather see the conference play a nine or ten game schedule but I understand that until we have a playoff format that is based entirely on games played and not an opinion poll or committee selection it is not going to be acceptable to the coaches.

Here’s my take on the divisions and their annual rivalry game.

West                                                    East

Alabama                                              Auburn

Arkansas                                             Kentucky

Ole Miss                                              South Carolina

Miss. State                                          Georgia

Tennessee                                          Vanderbilt

LSU                                                       Florida

Texas A&M                                         Missouri

Now getting something changed that may make sense is an entirely different story.

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