SEC head coaches voted yesterday to keep an 8-game football schedule. The vote was 13-1 with Alabama’s Nick Saban the only coach in favor of 9-games.
The vote didn’t really mean much other than to gauge the interest of the league’s coaches in moving to nine games. On Tuesday, SEC commissioner Mike Slive announced that the conference would play an eight-game schedule in 2014 and likely 2015.
But most college football pundits believe the SEC will eventually move to a nine-game football schedule out of necessity, either to strengthen their schedules for the College Football Playoff or to provide better content for the upcoming SEC Network.
Florida head coach Will Muschamp is in the camp that believes a nine-game schedule is inevitable.
“Personally, I think we’ll end up moving to nine (conference) games eventually,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “My personal opinion (is) you create an SEC Network, at the end of the day, it’s going to be driven by the dollar, and having those games is going to be important, and having enough quality games on television promoting a nine-game SEC regular season, in my opinion, will eventually happen.”
The move to nine games would most likely take place in 2016, which gives the SEC time to decipher the strength of schedule the playoff committee might require. It also allows member schools to play out their currently contracted non-conference games without having to cancel them and pay steep fees.
SEC schools that already have four non-conference games scheduled in 2014 include Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, and South Carolina. A few schools even have full slates in 2015 (Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee).
The 2014 SEC schedule was set for a possible release this week, but Mike Slive said that is now “doubtful.”
But ESPN reported that a 6-1-1 scheduling rotation has been approved through the 2026 season (six division games, one permanent cross-division game, and one rotating cross-division game). Of course, that format may not last very long.