The 2012 SEC Spring meetings are ongoing in Destin, Florida and a hot topic yesterday was future formats for football and basketball schedules.
With the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M to the league beginning in the 2012-13 academic season, the conference has to alter their long-term format in both sports. Basketball will move to an 18-game conference slate while football needs to settle on the number of games and a format.
Due to the shortened time frame, a football schedule was created for the 2012 season only. The format is a 6-1-1, meaning each team plays every other team within their division, one permanent cross-division team and one rotating cross-division team.
The 6-1-1 format is the “leader in the clubhouse” for 2013 and beyond according to SEC commissioner Mike Slive. If that format is approved, Georgia will continue to play Auburn on a yearly basis.
However, there are some proponents for a nine-game conference football schedule. That would likely end the permanent cross-division rivalries, but there has been some talk of making accommodations in order to preserve Georgia-Auburn and Alabama-Tennessee.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt told reporters he is in favor of an 8-game SEC slate and wants to keep Auburn as a yearly rivalry:
“I personally would say an eight-game league schedule. That’s part of the equation, too. You’ve got Georgia, you’ve got Florida, and South Carolina. We (the SEC) play Georgia Tech, Florida State, Clemson, our in-state rivals are out of league play. For us, I feel like an eight-game league schedule would be best.”
“I’m not going to be the one who shouldn’t play Auburn every year. I think that’s a great traditional rival game. We should continue to play Auburn every year. My vote would be 6-1-1, that’s my personal vote.”
Under a 6-1-1 format, the rotating non-division game is usually played home-and-home. But the conference could tweak the format to where each team plays teams from the other division in succession. In that scenario, each SEC team could play all of the other teams in the opposite division in six years rather than twelve.
If the 6-1-1 format is approved, here is what the permanent cross-division rivalries will look like (East – West):
- Florida – LSU
- Georgia – Auburn
- Kentucky – Mississippi State
- Missouri – Arkansas
- South Carolina – Texas A&M
- Tennessee – Alabama
- Vanderbilt – Ole Miss
The future basketball schedule format is a little closer to completion. Teams will play an 18-game slate which will consist of two games against a permanent rival, playing four rotating teams twice and one game against eight other teams.
Georgia’s permanent rival is likely to be South Carolina, but head coach Mark Fox let it be known that he preferred the Florida Gators for that designation.
A format for the SEC Basketball Tournament must also be settled on. The current proposed format has the no. 11 seed playing the no. 14 seed and the no. 12 seed playing the no. 13 seed in the first round. The top 10 seeds would get byes in the first round, while the top four seeds would get second-round byes as well.