Mar 11, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores pose for a photo after defeating Kentucky in the finals of the 2012 SEC Tournament at the New Orleans Arena. Vanderbilt defeated Kentucky 71-64. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-US PRESSWIRE
With the conference expanding to 14-teams in 2012-13, the SEC has announced changes to the format of its regular season schedule and postseason tournament.
The SEC has announced a new model for both its regular season schedule and postseason tournament to accomodate the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M.
The new models, which were approved last week by the SEC presidents, athletic directors and coaches at the league's annual meetings, will be adopted by the conference this season and will be in place through at least 2015.
Beginning next season, the league's 14 members will play an 18-game schedule that features at least one game against each conference opponent. Each team will play one permanent rival twice every season, four rotating opponents that will be played twice each season, and eight teams that will be played once each year (four at home and four on the road). So over the course of the next three seasons (when the agreement for this model runs out), each school will have played their permanent rival six times and each other team four times.
The league's permanent rivals pairings are: Alabama-Auburn, Arkansas-Missouri, Florida-Kentucky, Georgia-South Carolina, LSU-Texas-A&M, Ole Miss-Mississippi State, Tennessee-Vanderbilt.
The conference tournament will now feature a pair of "play in" games between the bottom four teams in the conference standings on the Wednesday of tournament week. The No. 11 team will face the No. 14 team and the No. 12 team will play the No. 13 team. After that point, the tournament will continue on in the standard 12-team format it has held for the past several seasons (an example of the new format).