SEC coaches can’t agree on football schedule format

DESTIN, Fla. — Strong differences of opinion surfaced among SEC coaches Wednesday about how the soon-to-be-14-team league should format its football schedule.

Entering the league’s spring meetings, “the leader in the clubhouse” — as SEC commissioner Mike Slive put it — was a 6-1-1 format in which each team would play six games against intra-division opponents, one game against a permanent cross-division opponent and one game against a rotating cross-division opponent. That formula would preserve annual rivalries such as Georgia-Auburn and Alabama-Tennessee.

But some coaches found fault with the 6-1-1 approach Wednesday.

“It was kind of all over the place,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. “Everybody had sort of a different agenda.”

The SEC’s athletic directors will vote Friday on a format to recommend to the league’s presidents, who will make the final call. The pending decision is for the 2013 season and beyond; the SEC previously adopted the 6-1-1 format for 2012.

Slive said the coaches engaged in a “vigorous” discussion about the matter.

The Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida coaches favored 6-1-1. Others, including LSU’s Les Miles, argued for scrapping permanent cross-division opponents and adopting a 6-2 format: six games against division opponents, two against rotating cross-division opponents.

Miles said he is opposed to 6-1-1 because it creates “disproportionate” advantages or disadvantages for particular teams. He said it’s disproportionate for Mississippi State to play Kentucky every year while Auburn plays Georgia.

There was even renewed discussion among the coaches of playing nine conference games, although that seems an extreme longshot.

And there was talk of a compromise under which the Georgia-Auburn and Alabama-Tennessee games would continue on an annual basis while the 10 other teams would rotate two cross-division opponents.

“We couldn’t come to a consensus as coaches because everybody had their own dynamic that would make one thing make sense for one but not for others,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said.

Richt’s own view is unequivocal: “I’m not going to be the one to say we shouldn’t play Auburn every year. I think that’s a great, traditional-rival game, and we should continue to play Auburn every year. So I vote for 6-1-1.”

Spurrier’s proposal fails

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier’s proposal to count only intra-division games in determining the SEC East and West champions went nowhere.

“The more that was discussed, the more everybody understood that’s probably not going to happen,” Richt said. “Your crossover games are going to have to count. It’s true in just about every other sport in America,” including, he pointed out, the NFL and MLB.

“I think everybody — most everybody — backed off of that,” Richt said of Spurrier’s proposal. Spurrier indicated the idea could be discussed again next year.

Sorting out hoops schedule

The SEC men’s basketball coaches discussed proposals for the conference schedule and tournament in a 14-team league.

“It might be … easier to just add two teams,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said.

The conference-schedule proposal calls for 18 games — home-and-home games against each of five opponents and one game against each of the other eight. Every team would have one designated opponent to play on a home-and-home basis annually; the other four home-and-home opponents would rotate.

Fox wants Florida to be Georgia’s designated twice-per-season opponent, but Florida coach Billy Donovan said Kentucky would be that opponent for the Gators.

The proposed format for the conference tournament would have the No. 11 seed play the No. 14 seed and the No. 12 seed play the No. 13 seed in the first round. The top 10 seeds would have first-round byes, and the top four seeds would have second-round byes as well.

50 comments Add your comment

ldawg121

May 30th, 2012
9:13 pm

As much as I would hate to lose the annual Auburn game,i’m more for the 6-2 format,simply because otherwise UGA would only play Bama and LSU like twice a decade. The simplest way to keep the rivalries intact and prevent that would be to go to a 9 game conference schedule.Oh thats right,we can’t do that because then we would have to drop such edge of your seat matchups like Buffalo or Eastern Podunk University. My bad.

Duncan

May 30th, 2012
9:32 pm

Dropping the permanent cross-division rivals is the right thing to do. With this many teams in the conference, it has to be done. Otherwise, some teams will only face each other once a decade. That makes no sense – it’s supposed to be a conference.

Beast from the East

May 30th, 2012
9:35 pm

I’m with Donovan. The Gators want play the best in hoops as a permanent opponent and that would be UK…not UGA. I’m sure Slive would agree, as it’s been UK and UF that have carried the conference for years in hoops.

Beast from the East

May 30th, 2012
9:36 pm

Duncan,
I’m with you but what about UGA/AU and UA/UT?

Duncan

May 30th, 2012
9:46 pm

It’s the sacrifice the SEC must make for the betterment of the league as a whole. Those particular rivalries will mean that much more when they do hook up. Playing nearly 40% of the league once every 6 years just doesn’t cut it.

ted

May 30th, 2012
9:48 pm

Never thought I’d agree with Les Miles on anything. 6/2 is the way to go.

kingdaddy

May 30th, 2012
9:50 pm

And the crying begins…

Beast from the East

May 30th, 2012
9:55 pm

I think we need to go to 6-3 and then 7-2 when/if they add two more teams. We should be at 9 conference games if we’re going to continue with a 12 game season.

Your Girlfriend

May 30th, 2012
9:58 pm

Miles said he is opposed to 6-1-1 because it creates “disproportionate” advantages or disadvantages for particular teams. He said it’s disproportionate for Mississippi State to play Kentucky every year while Auburn plays Georgia.

I don’t see anything “disproportionate” in those match-ups. What did he mean by that? Nine conference games is too many. The conference is too large. Twelve is a better size for a football conference. Ten is even better than twelve.

Orlando Dawg.

May 30th, 2012
9:58 pm

I say they should go to the 9 game conference and keep the peranent cross divsion rivals.If the 4 team playoff ends up being only conference champions this would make the strength of schedule that much better for the SEC champion.Also as a season ticket holder for UGA i hate seeing us play these week teams like Buffalo.

Neutral

May 30th, 2012
9:59 pm

Add FSU, Clemson, VT and NC to the SEC and play all 8 games on one side of the conference (east and west). Move Auburn to the east……and keep the rivalry together forever!!,

JimDog85

May 30th, 2012
10:00 pm

Don’t be so quick to give up on a tradition as long as GA-AU. Over a hundred years of tradition is something you don’t throw away.

bucket

May 30th, 2012
10:03 pm

I’m sure everyone could see through Spurriers motives. He had almost as good an opportunity as he could have hoped for last year with Tennessee and Florida being down and he had Arkansas and Auburn rather than LSU or Alabama. All they had to do was beat Auburn at home and he would have been home free to the Dome.

Orlando Dawg.

May 30th, 2012
10:05 pm

I agree Jimdog85.I have been a season ticket holder since 1996 and I say go to 9 games conference schedule.9 games is not too many games.

bucket

May 30th, 2012
10:10 pm

@ Your Girlfriend – good point. AU/GA and Miiss St/UK are almost perfectly matched, so that didn’t make any sense. I think coaches like Miles and Spurrier are taking a very short view of these matchups. Right now it probably seems unfair for Alabama to get UT while LSU has Florida. I think most would agree that Florida has been tougher for the last decade than UT and Florida will probably be good again quicker than UT. But UT will be good again and even when they have been bad they have given Alabama all they wanted a couple of times because it is such an intense rivalry.

With all that said, I do personally believe the 6-2 format is the most fair way to do it unless they are going to go to 9 conference games instead of 8.

Your Girlfriend

May 30th, 2012
10:12 pm

After his last trip, I’m surprised that Spurrier even WANTS to go back to the Dome.

ldawg121

May 30th, 2012
10:21 pm

If the crossover schedule remained home and away,then using Bama as an example,UGA would play them in 2013 and 2014,then not play them again until 2025. Some of us old guys might not even be around to see the opponents rotate all the way through the schedule. Come on Slive or whoever else is making these decisions,grow some and go to a 9 game conference schedule.

Paul in NH

May 30th, 2012
10:34 pm

I can understand why Donovan wants UK as the permanent rival in b’ball – they are the two best programs. However, the SEC needs to be careful they don’t focus too much on that rivalry in b’ball. The ACC has revolved around Duke-UNC and most of the rest of the league has fallen behind. The ACC really needs Pitt and ‘Cuse to even things out a bit.

Paul in NH

May 30th, 2012
10:36 pm

Why not play 6-1-2 in conference? It wouldn’t hurt the top teams to play 9.

SiddyBoy

May 30th, 2012
10:39 pm

The conference expansion is wreaking havoc with some really big traditional games.

Only in Moultrie

May 30th, 2012
10:42 pm

The SEC should’ve never added 2 more teams. I like the 6-2 format because it would be unfair if Alabama’s permanent opponent was Florida and LSU’s was Vandy. Florida is going to beat Alabama often, while Vandy might not ever beat LSU. I wonder why we don’t abandon divisions like basketball does and just let the top 2 teams play for the SEC title.

WarEagle79

May 30th, 2012
10:45 pm

Auburn needs to be in the East and Texas A&M and Missouri in the West.

Mobile Dawg

May 30th, 2012
10:48 pm

Les Miles isn’t qualified to comment on the tradition of the SEC. Throw away over a hundred years of tradition. He should have gone home to Michigan.

Your Girlfriend

May 30th, 2012
10:51 pm

@Only in Moultrie

I’m not so sure that the conference has a choice. The NCAA made a provision that conferences with 12 or more teams could split into two divisions and have a playoff game. Otherwise, no playoff is allowed.

SEC Fan

May 30th, 2012
11:00 pm

Your Girlfriend & Bucket,
I guess I wasn’t the only 1 who was wondering why Miles DID NOT consider that all E/W matchups are pretty much a good fit for each respective team. No offense to some schools, but you know who are better @ fb than others.

Auburn / Georgia
Alabama / Tennessee
Ole Miss / Vanderbilt
LSU / Florida
Mississippi State / Kentucky
Arkansas / South Carolina
Texas A&M / Missouri

How fair would it be if, for example, LSU had Kentucky. The Wildcat fans would constantly complain that it was almost a guaranteed Tiger victory each year. On the flip side, the LSU fans would call UK fans “crybabies” & so forth.

Or is that his real argument – that he’s wanting a guaranteed win, so try to poke holes into what’s been working for so long?

On a side note, to me, it made/makes more sense to match Missouri & TA&M as perm rivals. Was there ever a legit explanation as to why that was nixed?

SEC Fan

May 30th, 2012
11:05 pm

Only In Moultrie & Your Girlfriend, I thought it was mandatory for 12+ team conferences to split into divisions. Or did I read that incorrectly?

http://outkickthecoverage.com/ncaa-rule-makes-secs-13-team-schedule-a-virtual-impossibility.php

This talks about the CG, but unsure about the mandatory divisions.

Your Girlfriend

May 30th, 2012
11:06 pm

“On a side note, to me, it made/makes more sense to match Missouri & TA&M as perm rivals. Was there ever a legit explanation as to why that was nixed?”

Who said it was nixed. Who are their permanent rivals?

Your Girlfriend

May 30th, 2012
11:10 pm

“Only In Moultrie & Your Girlfriend, I thought it was mandatory for 12+ team conferences to split into divisions. Or did I read that incorrectly?”

Twelve or more teams are required in order to split and have a playoff game. You can have twelve or more teams and not have divisions — but then you also can’t have a playoff game. The rule doesn’t prohibit having an odd number of teams. The author of that article was confused.

SEC Fan

May 30th, 2012
11:19 pm

I personally like the 6-1-2 makeup. Yes, I know each season somebody’s going to have 5 home games. However, the years you have 4 home, you can offset that with hosting your regular OOC rivalry game (GT, FSU, etc.).

That’s a guaranteed 5 @home each year leaving the other 2 games to your discretion.

Paul in NH

May 30th, 2012
11:22 pm

@SEC Fan
Your Girlfriend is absolutely correct – the whole point of having a 12 team (or more) conference is to split into divisions and have a championship game. It’s all about the $$$. One of the reasons the B1G and Pac XII expanded was to have divisions and a championship game. Of course, the World Wide Leader was all for it as well.

SEC Fan

May 30th, 2012
11:23 pm

SEC Fan

May 30th, 2012
11:27 pm

Paul & Your GF,
I’m not talking about the article directly. I’m talking about the link in there to the NCAA rules. I was wondering if NCAA had a rule that conferences of “X” number of schools HAD to break down into divisions.

Your Girlfriend

May 30th, 2012
11:34 pm

@SEC Fan

Arky and Mizzou makes sense. SC has no traditional rivals in the SEC.

Your Girlfriend

May 30th, 2012
11:37 pm

A&M’s natural SEC rival is LSU, so they already have that game — same as with Bama & Auburn or Georgia & Florida.

SEC Fan

May 30th, 2012
11:56 pm

YG, we’re talking about cross division rivalries.

Randall "Pink" Floyd

May 31st, 2012
12:28 am

Les Miles is absolutely right on this one, if you can believe it. 6-1-1 makes no sense with 14 teams in the conference. You’ll have entire recruiting classes come and go without even playing every team in the conference. Either go to 9 conference games and keep the permanent cross-division games, or stay at 8 and go 6-2. This shouldn’t be that difficult.

mdawg

May 31st, 2012
12:55 am

the mad hater is correct. 6-2 is a better system. lets get with the times people. as a lifelong UGA fan, i have never been excited to play auburn. traditions need to evolve.

as a true fan, i wish that LSU or alabama would come to athens more than once every 10 years. while the aubrun game has gotten old and stale.

its time for the SEC to make games into events instead of tradition. lets take the power of the SEC and grow with it

Flounder

May 31st, 2012
2:13 am

Boo Hoo Hoo … cry me a river. Trouble in paradise ladies??

bucket

May 31st, 2012
7:53 am

@ SEC Fan – Just saw your list from 11 pm last night and I personally think that list should remain unchanged although there is some wiggle room with Ark, SC, Mizzou, and Texas A&M because those teams don’t have any traditional SEC rivals. So I would be in favor of the 6-1-2 format I have seen proposed that would keep the teams playing 6 teams in division, 1 permanent cross-rival, and 2 rotating teams each season.

kingdaddy

May 31st, 2012
8:51 am

Does this mean we have to give up Ga. Southern???

robodawg

May 31st, 2012
9:16 am

Breaking the Bama-Tennessee or Georgia-Auburn rivalries is a mistake. Makes sense for the rest of the teams but not for these 4.

The league should be treated like a treasure for its fans, not like a product for national TV. If the SEC doesn’t respect its past it will crumble.

kingdaddy

May 31st, 2012
9:18 am

I know this isn’t popular, but a 9 game, 6-3 schedule would be fun. Yes I know that we would beat each other up pretty good and it might knock us out of a shot at an N.C., but nobody could say anyone played a weak schedule. Do we really need 2–3 cupcakes a year? Even if we don’t go to a 9 game conference schedule, then how about a mandatory limit on cupcakes. I am not in favor of a weak schedule just to pick up wins and yes I know all conferences do it. The SEC is not just any conference though, we rule! You get to be the best by beating the best. I for one want to see better quality games scheduled at UGA…

Mobile Dawg

May 31st, 2012
9:26 am

Amen kingdaddy, my prediction is many empty seats for the cupcakes. Nine conference games still leaves room for creative scheduling.

Gary

May 31st, 2012
10:47 am

Sounds to me like something they should have worked out before asking A&M and Missouri to join the conference. This is not better for the fans, and splitting the pot 2 more ways is not helping the teams either. This conference hopping bs needs to stop or it will ruin college football.

Skokie Dog

May 31st, 2012
10:57 am

Beast from the East and kingdaddy have it right: play nine conference games. I’d actually be fine with a ten-game conference schedule, since we’d still have GT and a second cupcake team to go along with our conference opponents. I believe that ticket sales would reflect the level of the competition.

SEC Fan

May 31st, 2012
12:01 pm

I have a great idea about the 9 game schedule in my 11:19PM post. It guarantees 5 home games each year.

Also, the only trouble people are complaining about “it’s difficult to schedule around” is partially right, but mostly wrong. Why? Simple – either cancel or play the non-conference teams you’ve already scheduled in upcoming years (which is only, what, about 2-3 yrs. in advance?), & then FORCE the SEC teams to adjust to the 9 game conf. schedule. That’s the only trouble I see them having. Yet they had to do it it this upcoming season due to our 2 new members.

As much as they (coaches) say they’re listening to the fans, it’s funny how many of us could care less to go to a cupcake game instead of a conference rival. I’m pretty sure if they check attendances, the “dessert” games have less crowds than “the meats of the schedule”.

Dawg '88

May 31st, 2012
12:53 pm

Donovan doesn’t want to play UGA twice a year after what happened in Athens this year. He sees the writing on the wall….avoid having to go to Athens except once every other year.

Spurrier got it handed to him about the “division games” only counting.
As CMR said, I am sure that last year he would have liked the rule but if the shoe had been on the other foot….his big mouth would be shut!

And one more thing Spurrier….the difference wasn’t the opponent. UGA played Auburn also. Both played them at home. UGA routed them. SCU lost to them….win that game big mouth and you would have won the East.

Spurrier = Sore loser = All around jerk

Can’t change 2011….suck it up South Carolina and Spurrier!
You revel in the win at UGA…but what good did it do you…none!
2011 SEC Champions…..Georgia Bulldogs!

Bet that stings….stings bad

Dawg '88

May 31st, 2012
12:54 pm

should say 2011 SEC EAST CHAMPIONS above^^^

truedawg

May 31st, 2012
3:18 pm

why not have 6-1-1 for 4 teams and then 6-2 for the rest? it seems fair, i mean No one can complain that even when they are down, UGA, UT, BAMA AND AU are never down that long. Give them what they want. In case you haven’t figured it out. The “hat” and the “visor” aren’t worried about anything but winning, if it’s unfair for them it’s bad, but if it give them an edge, they’re all for it. Must be something about “head gear” too tight or something. I don’t care if we only play LSU or Bama or whom ever once every ten years. If we win the East, then we have a shot to play them in the Dome. GATA!! GO DAWGS!!!

SEC Fan

May 31st, 2012
4:12 pm

“truedawg

May 31st, 2012
3:18 pm
why not have 6-1-1 for 4 teams and then 6-2 for the rest? it seems fair”

I’ve heard this suggestion thrown out there & Slive said they’ve looked into it. But, the thing I can’t understand is how exactly would you achieve task that to make sure everybody can get on a rotation that works? By my figuring, those with a perm. cross-division rivalry will need 12 yrs. to play the other 6 opponents H/A before repeating; while those with no cross-division rivalry only need 7.