Help for nine-game SEC football schedule dwindling with Alabama mulling vote for eight-game format

The SEC is anticipated to finalize its football scheduling format for 2024 and beyond subsequent week when coaches and administrators convene in Miramar Beach, Florida, at the league’s annual spring meetings. 1 of the primary subjects on the table will be whether or not the league moves to a nine-game schedule just after expansion — a move that, according to a number of reports, is rapidly losing help. 

Administrators have been debating proposed models considering that the conference announced in June 2021 that it will add Texas and Oklahoma. The finalists are a nine-game format that would function 3 permanent rivals and six rotating opponents or an eight-game format that consists of one particular permanent rival and seven rotating games. 

Brandon Marcello of 247Sports reports that Alabama coach Nick Saban is emerging as one particular of the principal opposing voices to the nine-game model. Saban has extended supported adding games to the SEC schedule as far back as 2012 when Texas A&ampM and Missouri joined the league.

“When you improve the size of the league by 15 %, you have nearly got to play much more games to get a correct indication of who’s the finest group in the league,” he mentioned in 2012. “We ought to come up with some format in the future exactly where just about every player in the league gets an chance to play just about every group in the league. We’ve sort of had that in the previous. This format will not necessarily give just about every player an chance to do that.”

Each of the proposed formats heading into 2024 give teams the opportunity to face each and every opponent in the conference just about every other year, which comes close to satisfying Saban’s desires. Even so, Saban seemed a bit frustrated in March when he got wind of the 3 permanent opponents that had been proposed for the Crimson Tide. 

“I’ve normally been an advocate for playing much more [conference] games,” Saban told Sports Illustrated. “But if you play much more games, I assume you have to get the 3 fixed [opponents] proper. They are providing us Tennessee, Auburn and LSU. I never know how they come to that [decision].”

Marcello reports that Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi State and South Carolina opposed the nine-game model, even though Auburn, Tennessee and Ole Miss stay undecided about their votes. Vanderbilt has not indicated which proposal it favors.

There are drawbacks to each and every format. The eight-game model would get rid of a present permanent opponent, which suggests rivalries like Auburn-Georgia, Tennessee-Alabama and other people could be in jeopardy of not becoming played on annual basis. The nine-game model would retain the vast majority of rivalries intact but could generate a enormous disparity on team’s strength of schedule.

The expanded, 12-group College Football Playoff is one particular of the aspects involved as nicely. That wasn’t even a glimmer in the eyes of administrators when Texas A&ampM and Missouri joined the SEC, but now the path to earning one particular of these spots has drastically changed considering that the 4-group model was announced in the spring of 2012.

Plus, as Marcello notes, 12 of the quickly-to-be 16 conference teams have 4 non-conference games schedule in 2024, and nine are totally booked out till 2026.

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