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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.

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