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SEC staying with 8 conference game schedule


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SEC Announces Format For Future Football Schedules

UPDATED 4/27/14

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Southeastern Conference on Sunday announced the format for future football scheduling that is a continuation of the existing format and adds a strength-of-schedule component that requires all schools to play an ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 opponent on an annual basis. The announcement comes after a vote of the league's institutions.

Each SEC team will continue to play eight conference football games per season, to include six games against division opponents and two games against non-division opponents. One of the non-division opponents will be a permanent annual opponent and the other non-division opponent will rotate each year.

In addition, at least one opponent from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 must be scheduled by each SEC school on

an annual basis beginning in 2016, with assistance from the conference office.

"This has been a thoughtful and deliberative process that has resulted in maintaining the current format and adds a provision that will bolster our collective annual non-conference schedule," said Commissioner Mike Slive. “Critical to maintaining this format is the non-conference opponent factor which gives us the added strength-of-schedule we were seeking while allowing continued scheduling flexibility for institutional preferences, and acknowledges that many of our institutions already play these opponents.

“The concept of strength-of-schedule is based on an entire 12-game schedule, a combination of both conference games together with non-conference games. Given the strength of our conference schedule supplemented by at least one major non-conference game, our teams will boast of a strong resume’ of opponents each and every year.”

The announcement is the culmination of a process that began in the spring of 2013 when the SEC presidents and chancellors committed to a review of football scheduling to be completed in time for the preparation of the 2016 football schedule with the objective of establishing a format in the best long term interests of the conference. Approval of the format came at a special joint meeting of the presidents and chancellors of each SEC institution and each conference athletic director held Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.

THE EIGHT-GAME SCHEDULE

“The existing strength of the SEC was certainly a significant factor in the decision to play eight games,” Slive said. “In fact, just last year, five of our schools comprised the top five toughest schedules in the nation according to the NCAA and nine ranked in the top 20.

“A number of our schools play annual ACC opponents, and recent history shows our schools are already playing a significant number of strong non-conference opponents across the country on a home and home basis or in neutral site games.

From 2006 through games scheduled in 2015, SEC teams will have played 132 games against schools from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12. More than half of the SEC schools have played two or more teams from those conferences in a single season at least once during that period and several schools have done it in multiple seasons.

The decision to maintain an eight-game conference schedule allows for a number of other advantages:

• A balanced league schedule for all teams – equal home and away conference games (four home and four away); a nine-game schedule would have resulted in some teams with five home games and others with four on an annual basis

• Accommodates varying institutional non-conference scheduling philosophies

• Allows for marquee neutral site games – the popularity of neutral site games has grown in recent years, as evidenced by large crowds and significant TV ratings for those games that feature major intersectional opponents

THE PERMANENT NON-DIVISION OPPONENT

“Tradition matters in the SEC, and there is no denying that tradition was a significant factor in this decision because it protects several long-standing cross-division conference rivalries,” said Slive. “It has been a hallmark of the SEC over our history to be able to make continued progress while also maintaining traditions important to our institutions.”

The decision to maintain a permanent non-division opponent also presents other advantages:

• Creates annual cross-division rivalries that otherwise would not be annual games

• Provides each team with a traditional opponent for the final weekend of the season

The permanent non-division opponents are as listed below:

• Alabama (west) vs. Tennessee (east)

• Arkansas (west) vs. Missouri (east)

• Auburn (west) vs. Georgia (east)

• LSU (west) vs. Florida (east)

• Ole Miss (west) vs. Vanderbilt (east)

• Mississippi State (west) vs. Kentucky (east)

• Texas A&M (west) vs. South Carolina (east)

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the one thing that I do kind of dislike is that it appears we will be playing Georgia and Bama at home in the same season. Good when it's at home, but not so good when both are away.

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the one thing that I do kind of dislike is that it appears we will be playing Georgia and Bama at home in the same season. Good when it's at home, but not so good when both are away.

I understand. But if memory serves, those are two rivalries where home field advantage hasn't been as big a factor historically. Certainly we've won more Iron Bowls in Tuscaloosa than Bama has. And I seem to recall an article 3-4 years ago saying that the visiting team has won more than might normally be expected in the AU-UGa series (I could be wrong, of course).

I think they've done a good job of scheduling the permanent cross-division opponents...as close to strength vs. strength parity as is likely possible, with historical games preserved (I'm assuming Tennessee will return to the upper echelon of the conference soon--they've got too much fan intensity, tradition and histroy, and booster support not to. I also think Arky/Missouri will trend back toward each other and mid-level in the conference) Feel a little sorry for aTm and S. Carolina and their "commuting" distance, but in this day of air travel, not a huge deal. Glad they are forcing a "BCS" OOC game on everyone, but even the Big 10, Big 12, ACC, and Pac-12 have tough teams and cupcakes so it doesn't guarantee parity in OOC schedules..

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And I seem to recall an article 3-4 years ago saying that the visiting team has won more than might normally be expected in the AU-UGa series (I could be wrong, of course).

Okay, looked it up on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia...._Oldest_Rivalry

IF I counted correctly, since we started playing home & home in 1959 (prior to that games were on "neutral" turf--Savannah, Atlanta, Macon, Montgomery, and mostly Columbus, Ga.):

Auburn has won in Athens 17 times: '61,'63,'65,'69,'71,'77,'79,'83,'85,'87,'89,'93,'95,'97,'99, 2001, 2005

Georgia has won in Auburn 14 times: '62,'66,'68,'70,'80,''82,'86,'92,'98, 2006, 2008, 2012

There have been 2 ties in that period, both in Auburn.

The other 21 games in that period, obviously, would have been victories for the home team, presumably split 50/50, or 10-11 home victories each.

(Maybe we should actually wish we always played Bama & UGa at their houses?)

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I think they've done a good job of scheduling the permanent cross-division opponents...as close to strength vs. strength parity as is likely possible, with historical games preserved (I'm assuming Tennessee will return to the upper echelon of the conference soon--they've got too much fan intensity, tradition and histroy, and booster support not to. I also think Arky/Missouri will trend back toward each other and mid-level in the conference) Feel a little sorry for aTm and S. Carolina and their "commuting" distance, but in this day of air travel, not a huge deal. Glad they are forcing a "BCS" OOC game on everyone, but even the Big 10, Big 12, ACC, and Pac-12 have tough teams and cupcakes so it doesn't guarantee parity in OOC schedules..

I dont want to give up the uga game and I dont want to move to the east and lose the iron bowl but as far as fairness goes the cross division rivalries are completely unfair. Us and LSU get the worst end of the deal. we both are forced to play one of the top 3 teams in the east almost every year. While bama gets to play Tenn who may become good again but personally I dont see it happening as fast as most people and ole miss gets vandy which should be an automatic win for them every year.

I understand keeping the rivalries because they have been going on for so long but there are only two cross division rivalries that exist so I dont know if from a league standpoint that is the smartest route to go. So many years the division champs are diceded by a tie breaker or by only one game and this puts us and LSU as well as georgia and florida in the east at a huge disadvantage to the rest of the league.

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My favorite part of this is that the SEC agreed that Notre Dame is an "acceptable" substitute for the non-conference Big-5 mandate.

Also saw a national writer point out that SEC teams will likely never again schedule Boise St or BYU under this current arrangement--interesting side note.

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The SEC should drop the permanent cross division games and just add those games to the rotation. They only exist so Auburn can play UGA and UAT can play UT. UT has not been competive fot the last 10 years and the thUGA game is always on the verge of a fight. the other permanent games are meaningless as rivalries.

Arkansas played USCe for 21 years and now they just drop them and play missouri who they have only played 5 times in the last 100 years. just more proof missouri should be in the SEC west and not the SEC northeast....

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just more proof missouri should be in the SEC west and not the SEC northeast....

Who would you kick to the East in their place?

AU

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I've said this ever since MO and A&M became SEC members. Missouri should be in the west and we should be playing in the east.

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the one thing that I do kind of dislike is that it appears we will be playing Georgia and Bama at home in the same season. Good when it's at home, but not so good when both are away.

I believe the plan is for us to go to Athens in '15 as well.

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the one thing that I do kind of dislike is that it appears we will be playing Georgia and Bama at home in the same season. Good when it's at home, but not so good when both are away.

I believe the plan is for us to go to Athens in '15 as well.

In order to have both series in alternating Home and Away schedules we will have to do that.
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the one thing that I do kind of dislike is that it appears we will be playing Georgia and Bama at home in the same season. Good when it's at home, but not so good when both are away.

I believe the plan is for us to go to Athens in '15 as well.

In order to have both series in alternating Home and Away schedules we will have to do that.

That actually makes sense, they played here 2 years in a row, we should play there 2 years in a row to make the rotation normal again. We do get screwed a little bit playing both Bama and UGA away in 2014, but 2015 should be normal. I think that is fair.

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i don't think that's what is happening though. I think UGA and Bama are going to be together every season now. The way I've read it is it's not going back to the rotation we had in 2012 and before.

"Auburn will continue to play Alabama and Georgia at home and on the road in the same seasons as part of the SEC's recently-announced plans to keep an eight-game conference schedule, Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs told AL.com Sunday.

Auburn will travel to both Georgia (Nov. 15) and Alabama (Nov. 29) for the first time in school history in 2014. The scheduling shakeup with Auburn's rivals is a result of a scheduling quirk when Missouri and Texas A&M joined the conference in 2012, and the SEC does not plan to correct it.

"I think it balances out," Jacobs said. "The way that it used to be, one at home and one away, was better for Auburn just to split those games up but we all had to make concessions in order to get what we wanted, so it's far more important to have the Georgia rivalry than lose that rivalry.""

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OleMiss gets Vandy and MSU gets Kentucky as their cross-division along with UAT vs UT & AU vs UGA.....

I don't see any those teams wanting to shake things up and switch oponents in the future. We don't want to lose a storied rivalry and the others don't want to lose a relatively easy win. (I know UT "used" to be a power and "may" bounce back.) BUT, I doubt OM/Vandy & MSU/UK want to change anything.

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There just isn't any fair way to do this scheduling thing. I agree that the SEC is hard enough that a 9th conf game isn't needed. But I also don't like the idea of playing FL every 10 years or so that it will take to rotate them on the schedule. I'd love to see AU moved to the east and Mizzou moved to the west, but I think Alabama would prefer the SEC to break up as to let that happen. I also understand why they wouldn't want to give up the Tenn game as their permanent rival in place of AU.

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I would like to see the SEC go to 9 or even a10-game schedule. Why? I like watching good competitive cfb games. IF the SEC is supposed to be the "best" conference, then why not more of a good thing? It's simply ridiculous to schedule lower division patsies when we hardly play all the other conference members.

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There just isn't any fair way to do this scheduling thing. I agree that the SEC is hard enough that a 9th conf game isn't needed. But I also don't like the idea of playing FL every 10 years or so that it will take to rotate them on the schedule. I'd love to see AU moved to the east and Mizzou moved to the west, but I think Alabama would prefer the SEC to break up as to let that happen. I also understand why they wouldn't want to give up the Tenn game as their permanent rival in place of AU.

If my math is correct we would be playing that rotating team every 6 years. If they use 2014 as the "beginning" of the rotation it would look something like this:

2014 - south carolina

2015 - Kentucky

2016 - Missouri

2017 - Florida

2018 - Vanderbilt

2019 - Tennessee

2020 - South Carolina

2021 - Kentucky

2022 - Missouri

etc...

Please note that none of the above team selections are my speculation or opinion. Its just an illustration to show how things would go. From 2015-2019 those teams could be in any order. I put Tennessee last only because we played them last year and when they finalize the rotation it could play a factor and they could be the last team we play under the new rotation. Remember these are one year rotations, not a home and home.

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I don't think it's that straightforward. There is no "new" rotation.... They just voted to continue the current system. lWe played SC in 2010 and will again in 2014. I have no idea how they come up with that, but we can expect more of the same.

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I don't think it's that straightforward. There is no "new" rotation.... They just voted to continue the current system. lWe played SC in 2010 and will again in 2014. I have no idea how they come up with that, but we can expect more of the same.

The last time we played South Carolina was 2011. We played them twice in 2010 and then once in 2011.

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I don't think it's that straightforward. There is no "new" rotation.... They just voted to continue the current system. lWe played SC in 2010 and will again in 2014. I have no idea how they come up with that, but we can expect more of the same.

The last time we played South Carolina was 2011. We played them twice in 2010 and then once in 2011.

Which means the inter-divisional rotation is even more screwed up.

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I don't think it's that straightforward. There is no "new" rotation.... They just voted to continue the current system. lWe played SC in 2010 and will again in 2014. I have no idea how they come up with that, but we can expect more of the same.

The last time we played South Carolina was 2011. We played them twice in 2010 and then once in 2011.

Which means the inter-divisional rotation is even more screwed up.

The inter-divisional rotation means nothing in terms of the outcome of any given season IMO. One thing we can count on is that Vandy & UK will rarely be a threat to win the East and MSU and Ole Miss will rarely be a threat to win the west. Meanwhile why isn't UF crying about having to play LSU every year or UT having to play bama.....that's not a treat (other than $$$) for those teams either. The balance of power is not fixed in the SEC and eventually bama will go back to where it was before NS got there....and UT or UF will find someone that can re-ignite their programs,etc.

JMO but 8 conference games plus the possibility of an SEC championship game plus a Big 5 game is a serious season and some consideration has to be given to the players who for the most part are being ignored in this discussion. Those hated games against La Tech, etc serve a valuable purpose....1-raise more money since they are always home games, 2. give teams a chance to let up and coming players see some time on the field, 3 allow some injuries to heal.

Consider last season.....NM was dinged up and just in time, we had a couple very winnable games where JJ and CAP could carry the offense. Had we been facing Okla State instead of Western Carolina, what could that have meant for the rest of the season? If Nick had to play hurt or JJ was facing a couple of serious defenses for example? And if CAP had not been able to do most of the work in a few of those easier games, could Tre really have carried the ball 50 or 60 times earlier in the year against a couple of Big 5 conference schools....and still been healthy in late November and December?

I think most SEC coaches understand this situation and that's why most were / are in favor of the 8 game schedule. It should not take a genius to understand that a major reason NS is in favor of 9 games is because he knows he has more talented players than another other school and SEC football is a battle of attrition with injuries mounting up as the season progresses....and NS is pretty sure he can win the attrition battle.

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