April 23rd, 2013 11:32 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Alabama, Florida Florida State, SEC, Southeastern Conference
Depending on who you talk to around the Southeastern Conference, the league is still seriously considering a possible move to a nine-game conference slate. The 2013 schedule held fast at eight games. A short four-year rotation (2014 through 2017) that will be presented at the spring meetings in Destin is also built on an eight-game model. Additionally, the majority of SEC schools seem to want to stand pat at eight, especially those with built-in rivals from other conferences (Kentucky/Louisville, Florida/Florida State, South Carolina/Clemson, Georgia/Georgia Tech).
On the other hand, there are a few who want to see a nine-game schedule come to fruition. Nick Saban of Alabama is one. He believes schools in the same league should visit one another more than once every 13 years or so. Go figure.
Then there are those who understand that the sales team who’ll be peddling the soon-to-be-officially-announced SEC Network will have an easier path to success if the conference has better television inventory. Having seven extra SEC games to sell each year would certainly beat the SEC/Austin Peay and SEC/Elon matchups we get so many times per season as part of the current model.
Another factor is the new playoff selection process — an issue that will be tackled this week by the powers-that-be in college football. We know that a playoff has been created in part because the Southeastern Conference has owned the BCS Championship Game for the better part of a decade now. So with a selection panel consisting of folks from across the nation, it’s not difficult to imagine a day when voters from other regions attempt to spread the wealth to more conferences by refusing to invite a second SEC team — no matter how deserving — into their new four-team playoff. Especially if all the other major conferences are playing nine-game conference slates and the SEC isn’t. And if there isn’t going to be one, overriding RPI-type of ranking used by the selection committee… and for now that is the thinking.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told The Macon Telegraph and The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer this week that the SEC’s scheduling plans will indeed be impacted by just what the heck “strength of schedule” will mean in future days:
“We continue to be educated on what the definition of strength of schedule means. What are other conferences doing in that regard. So there’s a lot of things to really discuss if we do go to a nine-game model. But we have not talked about that other than just in theory, to see what some models of that would look like.”
The Big Ten, Big XII and Pac-12 are all either currently playing or planning to play nine league games per season. The ACC had initially announced plans to go to a nine-game schedule, but reversed field and announced an eight-game plan when Notre Dame agreed to join the league as part-time football participant.
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