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Carolina Prez: SEC Going To 9-Game Schedule In 2012

If you’re not a fan of horn-tooting, you probably won’t like this post. But for those new readers to the site, below are a few reasons why you might want to stop by on a regular basis.


For weeks and months SEC officials have said that the league was interested only in an eight-game conference schedule for 2012 and beyond.

But on October 20th and 21st, we pointed out that the SEC would likely have to move to a nine-game league schedule once it reached 14 teams:


“… it’s our bet that Missouri will find itself in the SEC East if/when it finally comes aboard.  We also expect the SEC to eventually go to a nine-game conference schedule featuring a 6-1-2 format in order for non-divisional foes to face one another more often.”


Well, yesterday evening South Carolina president Harris Pastides said that the SEC would indeed be going to a nine-game league schedule in 2012.  (Mizzou is also going to the East Division.)

Interestingly enough, moving to nine-game schedule will mean that all 12 SEC teams will have to break a contract with a nonconference team already on their schedules.  (Hey, Big 12, if you let Missouri go there will be about 12 new schools that will be looking for new nonconference games next fall.  That should take care of the “how will we replace Mizzou on our schedules” argument.)


We also projected in the above piece on October 21st that Missouri would likely choose Texas A&M as its permanent cross-divisional rival from the West because of Gary Pinkel’s desire to recruit Texas.  Pastides told The Daily Gamecock yesterday that South Carolina will keep its traditional rivalry with Arkansas moving forward.  Meaning: Missouri will face Texas A&M as its permanent cross-divisional rival just as we suspected.  (Click the link for the 21st and you’ll get a good look at what we believe the 6-1-2 nine-game conference schedule will look like for each team.)


Finally, we’ve said on numerous occasions that the SEC is not eyeing a move to 16-teams.  Though Arkansas AD Jeff Long tweeted yesterday that Missouri would “initially” play in the East, we didn’t take that to mean the league would expand further and then switch Missouri to the West.  To be perfectly honest, we’re not sure what Long meant by that.

But we are comfortable in stating again that 16 is not on the minds of the SEC’s presidents.  And Pastides confirmed that yesterday as well.

“This adjustment to 14 is a big bite, a big step forward.  I don’t want to be thinking about a 15th or 16th anytime soon.”  Pastides also said, “most presidents feel like me.”


If Pastides isn’t blowing smoke — and it’s unlikely that he is — then:


1.  Missouri will be in the East

2.  The SEC will go to a nine-game league schedule

3.  Arkansas-South Carolina will continue their cross-divisional rivalry which means Missouri-Texas A&M will likely begin one of their own

4.  The SEC isn’t interested in racing to 15 or 16 teams any time soon


Our sources across the SEC told us from the outset that the league wanted to incorporate Missouri and Texas A&M with as little fuss as possible.  Knowing that, we projected that items 1, 2 and 3 would come to pass.

In a world ruled by Twitter where every writer and every reader wants to get information first, we still managed — if Pastides is being honest — to be both first and right.

And right’s a helluva lot more important.  Thanks for reading the site.  And be sure to check out our schedule breakdown above.

 


22 comments
Kelly
Kelly

Why couldn't Mizzou play in the West? So much for a LSU/Mizzou rivalry.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Kelly...

Putting them in the West protects all existing SEC rivalries.

John

JohnGalt
JohnGalt

9 games makes the most sense. . .however I've heard rumors that Florida and LSU are wanting to get out of their cross division rivalry. Missouri's kind of split on whether to play Arkansas (as it's a natural cross division rival) or Texas A&M (for recruiting purposes). Slive was kind of hush hush on the specifics of scheduling yesterday, kind of avoiding the question entirely.

tradeassociation
tradeassociation

So ... Florida wants to get out of their cross division rivalry to play who? Ole Miss? And LSU is dying to get out of that cross division rivalry to play Kentucky I suppose. Hmmm ... wasn't there a song in the 1980s called "Rumors"? Yeah, there was ... Eddie Murphy parodied it with a song called "Roaches." Boy the 80s were fun ... anyway, I have a hard time believing that either the Gators or the Tigers want to get out of what has become one of the best rivalries in the conference since it went to 12 teams. Assuming LSU takes care of business from henceforth, Florida and LSU will have the most SEC titles the past 20 years (3 apiece). Yeah, breaking that rivalry game up makes a lot of sense. Almost as much sense as Auburn and Florida having to give up their game. (And no, Florida can't go back to playing Auburn, because Auburn's game is with Georgia.)

Gator79
Gator79

FL and LSU 3 a piece? Try EIGHT for FL. I'd say LSU has at least 3 or 4 too in the last 20, not even including the one they are in the driver seat for.

a&mfan
a&mfan

if they were to get out of playing LSU they would play A&M. Because they would want to recruit in Texas. But like you said I see this just a rumor.

johnnybroxx
johnnybroxx

Here I am still wishing to see the powers that be in Austin make a play at the SEC. I think I speak for all true longhorns when I say that I want to compete with the best. Seeing burnt orange in baton rouge, or tuscaloosa and athens,woule be a dream come true. During the next round of expansion, I hope that Texas comes to their sense, drops this fail they call the LHN and play where they truly belong.

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

John,

I've read the South Carolina message boards and they are tired of playing Arkansas yearly, partially due to losing 5 of the last 6 to the Hogs and also due to the distance. Arkansas would love to have Missouri given the geography, and Mizzou needs a good rival on their border (Tennessee hardly counts and their border...)

Do you see the SEC going for the quick fix, or making more changes in the long term, given the sensibility of Arkansas-Missouri?

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Fayettechill14...

I've been told repeatedly by sources across the SEC that Goal One is to add A&M and Missouri as seamlessly as possible. That would seem to mean having them play yearly -- which I'm told Missouri also wants for recruiting purposes -- and maintaining all the other league rivalries as is.

Arkansas-Missouri makes sense, but Mizzou will already be player three border state teams (Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt) in the East and it would maintain a semi-rivarly with A&M from their days in the Big 12 together.

At some point, the SEC might swap some cross-divisional foes, but I think short term that won't happen.

Florida-LSU, Mississippi State-Kentucky, Missouri-Texas A&M, and Arkansas-South Carolina really have no long-term ties to one another. (Alabama-Tennessee, Auburn-Georgia, Vandy-Ole Miss, on the other hand, are three of the oldest rivalries in the SEC.)

The only tie between Mizzou and A&M is the fact that Missouri recruits Texas heavily.

So those eight schools might do some swapping at some point, but I don't see it happening soon. We'll see.

John

tradeassociation
tradeassociation

Riiight ... so South Carolina exchanges playing Arkansas to playing TEXAS A&M. TEXAS A&M, who is one good coach away from being at least as good as Auburn, and possibly right up there with Florida/LSU/Alabama (and Tennessee and Georgia at times ... well UGA not so much). That makes A LOT of sense. Traveling to Arkansas is far ... like going to Texas A&M is closer.

What is sensible is having the two Big 12 refugees who came in together play each other until the SEC expands again.

tradeassociation
tradeassociation

Another thing: the SEC's going to 9 games to accommodate the extra teams (and the ACC doing the same whenever the Big East frees Pitt and Syracuse) is still more evidence that the Big 10 is going to add more teams when they go to a 9 conference game schedule in 2017. Still more evidence that it was better for the SEC to be proactive and add 2 AAU schools representing 31 million people now than be reactive and be stuck with small market schools or mid-majors after the Big 10 (and whoever else) got through feeding at the trough.

AustinVol
AustinVol

Hmmm. Maybe a bit premature to declare "victory" or superior journalism regarding a 9-game schedule. Charles Bloom via twitter:

SECPRGuy Charles Bloom
"#SEC will continue to play eight conference games in football. There has been no discussions on nine game schedule."

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

AustinVol...

We've just written something on that tweet.

Thanks for reading,
John

Glenn
Glenn

I really think a 14 team 9 games schedule is the sweet spot . I was wondering who would have the five home conference games . Would it be broken down by divisions ? Curious on that . I really hope that after a year or two Auburn is moved to the east and Missouri to the west . It as a whole would be not only geographically sensible but more exciting as well .

bob
bob

sweet spot,eh.after each team completes five road games and four home games,they will ALL be crying to add two more teams to balance things :)

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Glenn...

I think they'll try to tweak the existing schedules as best as possible, at least early on. It's an interesting question. To get everyone in a division aligned regarding home dates, it might require a few teams to play each other in the same location for two consecutive years.

Let me ask around on that and see what I hear back. Good topic.

Thanks for reading,
John

AnswersInBooks
AnswersInBooks

Hey John,

Just curious, is Pastides just more open to talking to the media than the other presidents? Most of the news you have posted over the last four months of expansion talk has involved S.C.'s president over the others.

Also, do you think that the "Mizzou to the East" is a temporary fix and that eventually MIssouri will be in the west?

Thanks! By far my favorite and best informed site for SEC sports.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

AnswersInBooks...

Pastides talks pretty openly with the folks at Carolina's student newspaper -- which I think is a great touch. Those kids deserve credit for getting him on the record so often.

And, yes, he does talk a bit more than other presidents it seems. Going all the way back to the start of expansion mania this summer, he openly said he'd have no trouble with Clemson joining the SEC. (Whether he meant that is another matter.)

Thanks for reading the site,
John

tradeassociation
tradeassociation

This is the best for all parties. Mizzou, which is very concerned about maintaining their academic rep and research level joins the division with AAU Florida and Vandy, AAU aspirant UGA, and improving Tennessee and South Carolina. The Arkansas-South Carolina rivalry is good for both schools. Mizzou needs the A&M game in order to recruit in Texas. Playing in Florida and Georgia will help Mizzou recruiting also. The East is a better academic, cultural and athletic fit even if it isn't the best cultural fit. (Don't say "tradition; Mizzou has no tradition with anyone in the SEC West except kinda sorta A&M, whom they will play every year.) And for all the talk about how Missouri shares a border with Arkansas in the SEC West check out a map ... they share a border with Kentucky AND Tennessee in the SEC East. Also, Mizzou is a basketball school, which makes being in a division with Kentucky and Florida in their interests. In everything but travel, Mizzou to the SEC East is in Mizzou's interests, and the interests of everyone else also. For now anyway.

mith242
mith242

I'm not sure I agree with how the Arkansas-South Carolina is good for both schools. I don't have anything against playing South Carolina. But I am still very disappointed that Arkansas won't have a rivalry game with the next closest school of Missouri. I understand why it will be that way, but I've still got to say I'm pretty disappointed.

Speedy98
Speedy98

Don't forget A&M is an AAU school too. Actuall with A&M and MIZZOU joining the SEC, the SEC now has more AAU schools than the Big 12-2-1+1-1+1.

tradeassociation
tradeassociation

Yep. However, A&M (#58 in U.S News) is more secure in their funding level and reputation than Mizzou. (Like Nebraska, who let us forget lost their AAU membership, Mizzou wanted badly into the Big 10 to stay where they were at minimum, and also get better in reputation and research.) After Nebraska, Colorado (AAU) and A&M (AAU) left the Big 12, and Louisville, West Virginia, BYU etc. were talked about as replacements, joining the SEC became a good academic decision for Mizzou. However, A&M's status is fine because they are such a huge school that does a MASSIVE amount of research. Being in the division with Ole Miss (unranked on U.S. News), Mississippi State (unranked), LSU (#128) and Arkansas (#132) won't affect them. But being in a stronger academic division will help Missouri (who despite being in the AAU comes in at #90, below non-AAU Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Clemson, SMU, Tulsa and UGA). It was interesting to see that Florida president Bernie Machen worked furiously to get Mizzou in - overcoming a good bit of opposition - and actually went to Columbia yesterday for the ceremony. I can see Machen and Deaton working together on more issues than football in the near future (wonder if Machen is going to accompany Deaton on that academic/research trip to India!!!).

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