The SEC has just about figured out its scheduling model for a 13-team league in 2012. If/when Missouri joins the SEC this week, all that work could go right out the window.
Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph recently caught up with Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity and was told that the schedule plan should be revealed “sooner than later.”
In terms of key cross-divisional rivalries like Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia, McGarity said he expects those games to be undisturbed. Other cross-divisional games could disappear for a year, however.
“There are various challenges that will be clarified here shortly. But we all realize that we’re just focusing on one year. … That’s really our mission right now, and we’re in the process of trading information back and forth…
There are several models that we have seen that keep your East opponents intact, and then keeping your Western common opponent intact. And beyond that there are a number of different options. But I think that we’ve seen the traditional rivals stay in place.”
McGarity said there’s been no talk of a 14-team schedule… which is what will be needed when Missouri comes aboard as expected.
Larry Templeton — the ex-MSU athletic director who is part of the SEC’s transition team — suggested last week that Texas A&M could be given an eight-game league schedule that actually consists of four games against the East and four games against the West (rather than the five divisional games and three cross-divisional games their West cohorts will play).
If that is part of the plan, and if the Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee rivalries are to be protected, it’s possible the other league teams might lose their cross-divisional permanent opponent for a year only. That would allow the rest of the league’s cross-divisional rotation to roll on as expected.
Arkansas and South Carolina, Kentucky-Mississippi State, and Florida-LSU have no longstanding history pre-1992 expansion (though that UF-LSU game is a doozy). Ole Miss-Vanderbilt is one of the league’s oldest rivalries, but could it be put on hiatus for one season?
Using such a plan would also allow A&M to host four teams and travel to four teams with all eight of those opponents keeping the same number of home and road games as they were originally scheduled to have.
Next year, Arkansas is scheduled to travel to South Carolina. Kentucky is slated to travel to Mississippi State. LSU will visit Florida. And Vandy will go to Ole Miss.
So it’s possible the 2012 A&M schedule could feature Arkansas in College Station (or back in Arlington at Cowboys Stadium), Kentucky, LSU and Vanderbilt at home. With road trips scheduled to South Carolina, Mississippi State, Florida and Ole Miss.
Just a thought.
A thought that will be completely moot if Mizzou can escape the Big 12 by next season.