So much for that nine-game SEC schedule that’s generated so much buzz.
It fizzled out on Sunday.
The league’s powers to be voted that the SEC’s football teams will continue to play an eight-game schedule with the 6-1-1 format.
The vote ended a long discussion about whether the SEC teams would go to a nine-game conference schedule, like the Pac-12 and Big 12. The Big Ten is going to a nine-game schedule in 2016.
Here’s SEC Commissioner Mike Slive: “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. 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.”
There was a key addition in the vote.
Beginning in 2016, every SEC team will have to play at least one team from another Big 5 conference (Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC are the other power conferences).
Most schools already schedule at least one team from a Big 5 conference, but Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt don’t this season.
Here are the permanent crossover games:
Of course, LSU AD Joe Alleva isn’t pleased with the vote. LSU plays Florida in its permanent crossover game. Here’s what he told The Times-Picayune:
“If I’m Ole Miss and I’m playing Vanderbilt, I’ll vote to play Vanderbilt. If I’m Mississippi State and I’m playing Kentucky, I’m going to vote to play Kentucky. People voted their own self interest instead of what is in the best interest of competitive balance. I understand Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia for the history, but that’s only four schools. The rest were voting in their own self-interest. They could have kept those games and the rest of us rotated. That was brought up but voted down.”
But in the end, history won out.
“It has been a hallmark of the SEC over our history to be able to make continued progress while also maintaining traditions important to our institutions,” Slive said.