Former Mississippi State AD and current SEC transition team member Larry Templeton was in Columbia, Missouri yesterday to see the #5 Tigers knock off future SEC running mate Texas A&M on the hardwood. The folks at PowerMizzou.com — the Rivals site covering Missouri — and The Kansas City Star caught up with Templeton and spoke with him about a number of SEC-related topics:
1. Templeton said the SEC will continue to go with an eight-game football schedule, but that the future schedule format for 2013 and beyond will not be tied to the 2012 schedule. “Everything you see in ’12 was done strictly to make it work. Everything else is on the table for discussion.”
Of a nine-game schedule, Templeton said: “We’re not going to nine. It would be an easier scheduling format, but I don’t think it would be fair to our players or our coaches.”
This has been known for a while. SEC coaches and ADs do not want to go to a nine-game conference slate and it will be up to the league commissioner and school presidents to convince them otherwise. Based on the SEC’s previous “bravery” when it came to adding league games and adding a championship contest, we continue to state that the SEC will eventually wind up with a nine-game schedule. If not, then the SEC will harm itself (especially with all other leagues heading toward a nine-game schedule universe).
2. Templeton said that one topic up for consideration is whether or not to continue having permanent cross-divisional rivalries.
If these games go away, the SEC will lose three of its oldest rivalries: Alabama-Tennessee, Auburn-Georgia, and Ole Miss-Vanderbilt. Missouri would also lose Texas A&M and the recruiting grounds of the Lone Star State.
The Big 12 nuked its Oklahoma-Nebraska matchup when it absorbed four schools from the old SWC in the mid-90s. The bad karma from that move has haunted the league to this day.
There is little chance that Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt would play each other as “non-conference” games in addition to their usual league slates, so you can stop emailing me that one. That leaves realignment of the divisions as the only other option, but…
3. Templeton said he did not foresee the divisional alignment changing “real quickly.” He said: “I think we would have to have some sound reasoning as to why we would want to change that.”
4. Templeton told the Missouri press that the SEC basketball schedule will be 16 games “next year and 18 thereafter” according to PowerMizzou.com. He also said that Kansas City — clear across the state of Missouri — will be in play for landing an SEC Tournament at some point.
5. Templeton said that he does not expect the SEC Championship Game to ever move from Atlanta.
6. The SEC rep would not discuss the possibility of the league expanding further.
So what did we learn? Not much that wasn’t already known. Except for this: Templeton said, “Until the NCAA changes the championship game rules, it would be hard to anything but divisional play. Now, we would like the NCAA to look at that because we feel pretty strongly — we have some crossover games division to division — (and) we would like to play more of them.”
That might be one way to open up scheduling and to save key rivalries like Alabama-Tennessee, Auburn-Georgia. Presumably, the SEC could go without divisions and simply send its top two teams to Atlanta for the SEC title game.
But that’s pure speculation at this point.