June 5, 2023 4:15 pm

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 major subjects on the table will be irrespective of whether the league moves to a nine-game schedule following expansion — a move that, according to various reports, is speedily losing assistance. 

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 a single permanent rival and seven rotating games. 

Brandon Marcello of 247Sports reports that Alabama coach Nick Saban is emerging as a single of the main 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 boost the size of the league by 15 %, you have pretty much got to play extra games to get a accurate indication of who’s the ideal group in the league,” he mentioned in 2012. “We ought to come up with some format in the future exactly where each and every player in the league gets an chance to play each and every group in the league. We’ve type of had that in the previous. This format will not necessarily give each and every player an chance to do that.”

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

“I’ve normally been an advocate for playing extra [conference] games,” Saban told Sports Illustrated. “But if you play extra games, I believe you have to get the 3 fixed [opponents] appropriate. They are providing us Tennessee, Auburn and LSU. I do not know how they come to that [decision].”

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

There are drawbacks to every format. The eight-game model would eradicate a existing permanent opponent, which implies rivalries like Auburn-Georgia, Tennessee-Alabama and other people could be in jeopardy of not getting played on annual basis. The nine-game model would preserve the vast majority of rivalries intact but could develop a enormous disparity on team’s strength of schedule.

The expanded, 12-group College Football Playoff is a single of the elements involved as properly. 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 a single 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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