The SEC announced tonight that they will keep their eight-game, 6-1-1 football scheduling format for the 2016 season and beyond.
For the Georgia Bulldogs, that means the annual battle against Auburn in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry will continue.
Each season, Georgia will play all six members of the SEC East — Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky — one rotating team from the West Division, and Auburn.
In even years, Auburn will visit Athens and Georgia will travel to face the rotating West opponent. In 2014, the Dawgs take on Arkansas in Little Rock.
The SEC also announced today the addition of a “strength of schedule mandate.” This mandate stipulates that each SEC team must also play a non-conference game every season against a team from another Group of Five conference — ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, and Pac-12. A game versus Notre Dame would also reportedly count.
Georgia already meets that mandate because they play Georgia Tech, an ACC team, every season. The Bulldogs are free to schedule as they see fit for the other three non-conference games, including FCS teams.
The eight-game schedule also allows the Bulldogs to entertain offers of neutral-site games such as the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, AdvoCare Texas Kickoff, and others. They can also continue to schedule home-and-home series against teams such as Clemson, or a rumored future match-up against Notre Dame.
“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.”