SEC officially adopts 6-1-1 scheduling format
As expected, the SEC's presidents and athletic directors have adopted a 6-1-1 scheduling format that will preserve the conference's cross-division rivalries.
CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported Tuesday that the SEC would officially unveil its 6-1-1 scheduling model Friday. And though the three days since have seen that plan come under intense scrutiny and even outright opposition in the case of LSU, that's exactly what the SEC has done.
The announcement was first made by Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, via the Gators' official football Twitter feed:
The "6-1-1" means that each SEC team will play six divisional games, one permanent cross-division game, and one rotating cross-divisional game. The permanent cross-division game will allow for the continuation of the traditional Alabama-Tennessee, Auburn-Georgia, and LSU-Florida rivalries--whether LSU wanted it or not.
Jeremy Foley said the 6-1-1 passed in the AD/presidents meeting.— GatorZone Football (@GatorZoneFB) June 1, 2012
As expected, new SEC member Missouri will play nearby Arkansas as their permanent cross-division opponent, athletic director Mike Alden confirmed. Previous Razorback cross-division rival South Carolina will, as expected, pair off with Texas A&M.
Mississippi State will continue playing Kentucky and Ole Miss will continue its series with Vanderbilt.
However, the SEC has not yet approved the actual 2013 schedule or its scheduling rotation for the seasons beyond. Commissioner Mike Slive said there was no timetable for the schedule's release, though he said it would be completed "as soon as possible."
As expected (again), the league has approved rotating the second cross-division game every season, rather than the current home-and-home series in back-to-back years. SEC official Mark Womack said the initial rotations would be decided at random.
With six years needed to rotate through the complete opposite division once and then six more to play the return trips, the rotation would hypothetically need to be established for the following 12 years. But Slive said Friday the agreement on the 6-1-1 could expire in the relatively near future:
Slive added that the format could be extended past that window, but that the league did not want to set anything in "concrete" beyond those three-to-four years.
Slive says the 6-1-1 format is looking at a 3-4 year window for football scheduling. Several AD's expect it to be reviewed eventually.— Joel A. Erickson (@wareagleextra) June 1, 2012
This decision could leave the door open for the league to add a ninth conference game at the end of that window, since playing only three or four years on the one-year rotations would result in several cancelled return trips.
Nonetheless, Auburn president Jay Gogue said the league would likely review the 6-0-2 model again in the future, and added that Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina's annual nonconference rivalries had prohibited the addition of the ninth game.
Though the 6-1-1 model entered the SEC's spring meetings as a near-certainty to be approved, complaints from LSU athletic director Joe Alleva and coach Les Miles about their team's annual game against Florida -- and what Alleva called the "competitive inequity" it created -- led Mike Slive to admit Thursday that league had examined possible compromises on the issue.
But speculation that the league might postpone an announcement to further study those possibilities proved unfounded.
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