Kevin C. Cox

The SEC football scheduling debate: Nine games or not?

Should the SEC expand to keep up with the rest of the country and preserve rivalries, or stay at eight to ensure lots of bowl games?

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17 Total Updates since May 30, 2012
  • Important 9
  • Updates 4
  • Articles 13
  • All Updates 17

The SEC's schedule debate

With the rest of college football's power conferences leaning toward nine games, is it time for the SEC to join in? And how much do cross-division rivalries matter?

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Every SEC coach but Saban wants 8-game schedule

The SEC's head coaches took a vote on whether they'd like to add a conference game to their schedule, and all but one wanted to keep things easy.

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A nine-game schedule thought exercise

More conferences are changing to nine-game schedules. Let's take a look in the future at how this could affect out of conference scheduling and college football as a whole.

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'13 SEC schedule has 'no impact' going forward

The 2013 SEC football schedule was released Thursday, but it has no bearing on future versions.

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SEC's 6-1-1 Schedule Keeps Rivalries, Hurts Cross-Division Play

The SEC has finally figured out its scheduling quandary after bringing on two new teams, officially going with a plan that would give each team games against six division foes, one permanent cross-division rival and one rotating out-of-division opponent every year. And then whichever four out-of-conference teams are up.

The way it's set up, it means, say, Alabama and Georgia will only play every six years, and the Tide will visit Athens once every 12. It's almost like they're both in the same conference, sort of! Barely!

The pairings:

  • Alabama-Tennessee
  • Arkansas-Missouri
  • Auburn-Georgia
  • LSU-Florida
  • Mississippi State-Kentucky
  • Ole Miss-Vanderbilt
  • Texas A&M-South Carolina

So why not just play nine conference games, allowing teams to see each other more than once a decade?

Should we hope the coming playoff system has a harsh strength of schedule component, which could punish leagues that play only eight conference games?

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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SEC To Recommend Specific Playoff Plan, Stick With 6-1-1 Scheduling

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SEC Coaches On Playoffs, Permanent Rivalries, Big 12 Expansion

It's time for SEC meetings, which means lots of college football coaches saying things on the issues of the day.

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SEC Confirms '6-1-1' Scheduling For Future Conference Games

The SEC is likely to continue its "6-1-1" model for conference football games beyond 2012.

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Texas A&M, South Carolina Indeed Becoming Permanent Rivals

After South Carolina president Harris Pastides revealed that his Gamecocks and the Texas A&M Aggies would begin a new, cross-division rivalry while the Missouri Tigers and Arkansas Razorbacks paired up, it looked like the SEC had found a way to preserve its traditional rivalries while incorporating two new teams. You know, traditional rivalries like Kentucky-Mississippi State and Texas A&M-South Carolina.

Now R. Bowen Loftin, president of A&M, tweets with bowtie not whirling:

Good news for fans of schools with rivalries worth keeping -- Alabama-Tennessee, Georgia-Auburn, and LSU-Florida. Now we'll all just try and wrap our minds around various things such as two schools that may not have ever played each other being declared eternal rivals, the Aggies replacing Texas with Carolina and feeling great about it, and just about the two most distant teams in the conference playing each other every year.

ht CBS' Eye on College Football

For more on Cocks football, visit South Carolina blog Garnet And Black Attack, plus SEC blog Team Speed Kills.

For more on Aggies football, visit Texas A&M blog I Am The 12th Man, plus SEC blog Team Speed Kills and SB Nation Houston.

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Missouri-Arkansas, Texas A&M-South Carolina To Be SEC Rivalries, According To Report

The SEC continues to work through the great scheduling debate of our time, seeking to figure out how to maintain a handful of historic rivalries without pushing to nine conference games, and without making it so teams in opposite divisions never play each other.

It sounds pretty easy!

The latest morsel, from South Carolina president Harris Pastides: the South Carolina Gamecocks and Texas A&M Aggies will become permanent, cross-division rivals. He also indicates that the Missouri Tigers and Arkansas Razorbacks will take up hostilities. Arkansas and Carolina had been official rivals since joining the league around the same time, and had generated a little bit of annual interest.

Mizzou-Arkansas will be an instant hit, as they share general geography, bowl history -- and recent basketball history. But Carolina and A&M? Help me out here. I'm having a hard time figuring out if they've ever even played football against each other before.

Pastides expects an announcement within two weeks.

For more on the SEC, visit SEC blog Team Speed Kills.

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SEC Realignment: Progressive Scheduling And Preserving Rivalries

The Third Saturday in October and the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry aren't going to save themselves. Time to build a schedule that can salvage the SEC's essential rivalries. Also: Should the SEC scrap its divisions?

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SEC Schedule Could Include Nine Conference Games, Missouri-Texas A&M Protected

Update: Despite South Carolina's president calling nine games, the SEC has denied:

Charles Bloom@SECPRGuy #SEC will continue to play eight conference games in football. There has been no discussions on nine game schedule.

The two biggest questions left about the Missouri Tigers transition to the SEC were answered on Monday. According to South Carolina's president, SEC schools will play nine in-conference football games per season, as opposed to eight, and the East's Mizzou will play the West's Texas A&M every year in a rivalry game.

The latter ensures all other existing rivalries remain untouched, while the former ... hoo boy.

The SEC receives heckles for its oft-squishy out-of-conference schedules, though around these parts it's clear the in-conference gauntlet makes up for some pastries. Moving to nine games destroys that flimsy criticism, not that the SEC has struggled with strength-of-schedule issues.

It also makes it even harder for a team to emerge unbeaten from the SEC. As the Pac-12 has shown over the years, winning nine times against BCS-conference teams is hard.

(It also means $$$$$$$$$$ for more big regular season games. Though fewer middling SEC teams will go to bowl games.)

Now the big question raised by these answers: which SEC schools will retain rivalry games with fellow power conference schools? Pastides says the Cocks will still play the Clemson Tigers, giving them only two gimme games per year besides, like, Kentucky. Just about every SEC school will have to drop at least one game for each of the next several seasons, and fans of rivalries will have to hope only cupcakes get the fork.

For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation and SB Nation Kansas City, plus SEC blog Team Speed Kills. And stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.

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