There’s been a lot of talk about the SEC adding a ninth conference game, and commissioner Mike Slive said Monday he expects the league’s decision makers to vote on the topic before the spring meetings (May 27-30).
Many people, including AJC columnist Jeff Schultz is in favor of teams adding a ninth SEC game. So am I.
Better schedules mean better games, more opportunities to be on TV — especially with the shiny SEC Network — and, ultimately, more money. Not just for the networks and the schools, but also for the SEC’s smaller college towns, which thrive on packed stadiums in the fall.
Coaches and ADs have their reasons not to like it, including the loss of potential rivalry games and missed bowl appearances by teams that needed another win to qualify.
The SEC is exploring its options with different formats. Any of them would lead to better games and an upgraded product.
Here are the non-conference games for SEC teams in 2014.
Alabama: West Virginia, Florida Atlantic, Southern Miss, Western Carolina (These teams were a combined 13-35 last year)
Arkansas: Nicholls State, Texas Tech, Northern Illinois, UAB
Auburn: San Jose State, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Samford
Florida: Idaho, Eastern Michigan, Eastern Kentucky, Florida State
Georgia: Clemson, Troy, Charleston Southern, Georgia Tech
Kentucky: Tennessee-Martin, Ohio, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisville
LSU: Wisconsin, Sam Houston State, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State
Mississippi State: Southern Miss, UAB, at South Alabama, Tennessee-Martin
Missouri: South Dakota State, Toledo, UCF, Indiana
Ole Miss: Boise State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis, Presbyterian
South Carolina: East Carolina, Furman, South Alabama, Clemson
Tennessee: Utah State, Arkansas State, Oklahoma, Chattanooga
Texas A&M: Lamar, Rice, SMU, Louisiana-Monroe
Vanderbilt: Temple, Massachusetts, Charleston Southern, Old Dominion
There’s plenty of room for another SEC game on these schedules.