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

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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.