Though it was expected, the SEC’s new eight-game, 6-1-1 schedule was officially adopted on Friday following this week’s spring meetings. The news was unofficially broken by Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley.
Here’s the 4-1-1 (sorry, it was there): the 6-1-1 model means each school will play their six division opponents, one permanent cross-division rival and one rotating cross-divisional game which is expected to rotate each season. Currently, the rotating cross-divisional game is a home-and-home series played in back-to-back years.
Heading into SEC spring meetings, the model was the clear favorite to be adopted because it protects the traditional Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia rivalries. However, Arkansas and South Carolina will no longer have the permanent title attached to their annual rivalry. Instead, Arkansas will play Missouri and South Carolina will play Texas A&M, despite Steve Spurrier‘s opposition.
Scheduling talk got muddy earlier this week too when LSU coach Les Miles voiced his displeasure with the 6-1-1 model, pointing toward the Tigers’ cross-division rivalry with Florida (LSU athletic director Joe Alleva complained of “competitive inequity”)
“If Mississippi State’s gonna play Kentucky every year, I think that’s disproportionate,” Miles said.
As you may recall, Miles and Spurrier favored a conference schedule in which only divisional games counted toward crowning division champs, but that proposal wasn’t met with the same enthusiasm by, well, anyone.
The SEC still needs to approve the actual 2013 schedule and all cross-divisional rotation games for the following 12 years in order to ensure each member gets one home game against an opponent in the rotation.