Get ready for some dueling reports out of Destin this morning.
According to Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com, the SEC will adopt the 6-1-1 (fast rotation) plan that many expected pre-SEC Meetings by the time Friday arrives. We first showed you what such a plan would look like way back on October 20th of 2011. We also told you on Monday that this would be the most likely solution, barring a fourth-quarter push by the television networks.
McMurphy suggests the plan will be adopted for a full 12-year run. As we also noted Monday, schedules can be torn up and pitched whenever the league deems it necessary to add more teams (if it ever does so), so a 12-year announcement is far from binding. However, if a 12-year announcement is forthcoming, it seems to say that the league isn’t going to be going to a nine-game conference slate anytime soon in order to appease CBS, ESPN or any other television entity hoping for better early- and late-season contests to broadcast.
The 6-1-1 (fast rotation) plan is the best model available to the league barring a jump to nine league games. Schools would face each of their division foes annually. They would battle a permanent cross-division opponent once per year, too, preserving some of the league’s most important games. And schools would rotate through their remaining six cross-division foes every six years. It would still take 12 years to visit or host each cross-division squad, however.
Going to a 6-1-2 plan (and rotating two squads per year) would have been better for television, better to fend off “strength of schedule” attacks from other conferences and outside media, and better for — ya know — actually seeing the teams in one’s own conference, but the SEC’s coaches and ADs have apparently been given the keys to drive this bus… something that was not the case in 1992 when the league drove an eight-game schedule and a conference title game down their throats (which has since led to 10 national football crowns in 20 seasons).
According to McMurphy, only set of permanent cross-divisional foes will be separated. McMurphy claims that Arkansas will align with neighboring Missouri — as MU coach Gary Pinkel suggested yesterday — and South Carolina will trade the Razorbacks for the Aggies of Texas A&M.
Ah, but on the other side of a Destin hotel lobby…
Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph and The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer — he’s so good one paper can’t contain him — claims “it now appears the SEC could keep voting on a scheduling model, with specifics — and who plays whom in which years — to be announced later.”
In other words, there’s a chance the format will indeed be selected this week, but the actual 12-year schedule and who plays whom could come later.
“Our goal — it’s our goal — is to have a format determined while we’re here, and then move on to schedules,” Mike Slive said yesterday. ”You know, formats ans schedules are two different things.”
Georgia AD Greg McGarity told Emerson: “I don’t think we’ll have any grid or chart of who you’re playing, 2013 and beyond. But hopefully there will be an approval of whatever the models are and information of that nature, but not who you play in 2013. That will be a ways away.”
Whether a 12-year announcement is made on Friday, obviously, remains to be seen. But it certainly sounds as though the 6-1-1 (fast rotation) plan will indeed be the format tabbed for the future.