The 2012 SEC Spring meetings begin today at the Sandestin Hilton in Destin, Florida One of the topics this week will be the future schedule format for football.
Over the weekend, SEC schedule guru and consultant Larry Templeton indicated that the conference will likely go with the 6-1-1 format. This format means each team plays six divisional games, one permanent cross-division opponent and one rotating cross-division team.
The 6-1-1 model is what the SEC is using in 2012 after expanding to add Missouri and Texas A&M.
“I’ve been around this (SEC) group enough to know that when they get together for four days there’s a lot of things that change from Tuesday to Friday,” Templeton said, chuckling. “But I wouldn’t look for a lot of change in the permanents if truly the 6-1-1 is what we end up with.”
The 6-1-1 format allows for historical rivalries to continue, such as Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee. But this model also means it will take 12 years for each team to play every team from the opposite division, compared to only five years under the old 5-1-2.
Another option for the 6-1-1 format is to play each team from the other division in succession, rather than playing one team home-and-home and then moving to the next team. In that scenario, each SEC team could play all of the other teams in the opposite division in six years rather than twelve.
The SEC should also set the permanent cross-division rivals this week. Based on comments made back in March, Arkansas will partner with Missouri while South Carolina will pair with Texas A&M. If that holds true, here is what the seven cross-division pairings will look like (East – West):
- Florida – LSU
- Georgia – Auburn
- Kentucky – Mississippi State
- Missouri – Arkansas
- South Carolina – Texas A&M
- Tennessee – Alabama
- Vanderbilt – Ole Miss
After the 6-1-1 format and permanent cross-division rivals are agreed upon, Templeton needs to know how many years he can schedule that format. That could range anywhere from one to 13 years.
If the SEC does release a scheduling format for future seasons, we expect it to list the opponents for each year but not the dates. That is how the conference has historically released their football scheduling information.