The SEC is anticipated to finalize its football scheduling format for 2024 and beyond subsequent week when coaches and administrators convene in Miramar Beach, Florida, at the league’s annual spring meetings. A single of the most important subjects on the table will be whether or not the league moves to a nine-game schedule following expansion — a move that, according to many reports, is swiftly losing assistance.
Administrators have been debating proposed models due to the fact the conference announced in June 2021 that it will add Texas and Oklahoma. The finalists are a nine-game format that would function 3 permanent rivals and six rotating opponents or an eight-game format that consists of one particular permanent rival and seven rotating games.
Brandon Marcello of 247Sports reports that Alabama coach Nick Saban is emerging as one particular of the key opposing voices to the nine-game model. Saban has extended supported adding games to the SEC schedule as far back as 2012 when Texas A&M and Missouri joined the league.
“When you enhance the size of the league by 15 %, you have virtually got to play additional games to get a correct indication of who’s the ideal group in the league,” he stated in 2012. “We need to come up with some format in the future exactly where every single player in the league gets an chance to play every single group in the league. We’ve type of had that in the previous. This format will not necessarily give every single player an chance to do that.”
Each of the proposed formats heading into 2024 give teams the likelihood to face each and every opponent in the conference every single other year, which comes close to satisfying Saban’s desires. Having said that, Saban seemed a bit frustrated in March when he got wind of the 3 permanent opponents that have been proposed for the Crimson Tide.
“I’ve usually been an advocate for playing additional [conference] games,” Saban told Sports Illustrated. “But if you play additional games, I believe you have to get the 3 fixed [opponents] appropriate. They are providing us Tennessee, Auburn and LSU. I do not know how they come to that [decision].”
Marcello reports that Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi State and South Carolina opposed the nine-game model, although Auburn, Tennessee and Ole Miss stay undecided about their votes. Vanderbilt has not indicated which proposal it favors.
There are drawbacks to each and every format. The eight-game model would eradicate a existing permanent opponent, which suggests rivalries like Auburn-Georgia, Tennessee-Alabama and other individuals could be in jeopardy of not getting played on annual basis. The nine-game model would maintain the vast majority of rivalries intact but could make a enormous disparity on team’s strength of schedule.
The expanded, 12-group College Football Playoff is one particular of the components involved as nicely. That wasn’t even a glimmer in the eyes of administrators when Texas A&M and Missouri joined the SEC, but now the path to earning one particular of these spots has drastically changed due to the fact the 4-group model was announced in the spring of 2012.
Plus, as Marcello notes, 12 of the quickly-to-be 16 conference teams have 4 non-conference games schedule in 2024, and nine are completely booked out till 2026.