As MrSEC notes, you could easily get a headache trying to figure out how the SEC is going to make a 13-team schedule work next year, but from all indications that’s just what the league is going to be doing.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told Bulldogs Blog “that’s the direction we’ve heard, is that we’re moving along with 13,” and with Texas A&M now officially in the conference the SEC even issued a photo of the rejiggered logo with 13 pennants.
Indications are that the SEC probably will be sticking with eight conference games until a 14th team is added at sometime in the future. That leaves seven teams in one division (most likely the West) and six in the other.
The problem with handling unbalanced divisions, as MrSEC explains, is that while normally a schedule with eight conference games includes five division opponents and three games against opponents from the other division, with 13 teams three teams in the larger division must play six division games (and just two non-division contests).
So the conference has to decide which previously scheduled West vs. East games won’t take place next year.
The assumption everyone appears to be working under is that all of the current “permanent” East-West rivalries, including Georgia-Auburn, Alabama-Tennessee and Florida-LSU, will be maintained.
“It’s critical that the Georgia-Auburn series stay intact in football,” McGarity told the Macon Telegraph last week. “I can’t imagine that being displaced or being discontinued. I think your traditional rivalries are always going to be there. Tennessee-Alabama, count on that.”
I hope he’s right. Of course, if Missouri winds up being the eventual 14th team in the league, it’s quite likely that Auburn will move over to the SEC East and the Georgia-Auburn rivalry won’t need protecting.
But until then any schedule changes that would interrupt the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry need to be vetoed by Michael Adams and McGarity, if necessary.
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