Yesterday, University of Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity held a live chat with fans on the Bulldogs’ official website.
The final question of the day was concerning the release of the 2015 SEC football schedule. McGarity’s response was that it “should be announced before the May spring meetings in Destin.”
Here’s the full text of the question and answer:
Guest: When is the 2015 schedule going to be decided, and when will a permanent rotation for SEC West opponents be decided? Any insight on when we go to College Station? Can’t wait for that trip!
McGarity: We are anxiously awaiting that information! It should be announced before the May spring meetings in Destin.
What we do know about the 2015 SEC football schedule is that it will be another “bridge schedule” and will continue the 6-1-1 format.
Under the 6-1-1 format, each team plays six intra-division games, one permanent cross-division game, and one rotating cross-division game. This format has preserved the permanent cross-division rivalries such as Alabama-Tennessee and Georgia-Auburn.
A possible cross-division game for 2015 is Alabama at Georgia. Last year, Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News said this game was likely on for 2015 after being pushed back from the 2014 season.
Although the rotating cross-division games are unknown, the other seven conference games on each team’s schedule should be the same as in 2014, only with the sites swapped.
In 2016, the SEC hopes to begin a long-term football scheduling format. Last year at the SEC Media Days, commissioner Mike Slive stated that they were committed to a review of the scheduling format and that the review would include “whether or not to play an eight- or nine-game conference schedule and whether or not to retain permanent non-divisional opponents.”
A move to a nine-game schedule would improve strength of schedule and provide more inventory for the SEC Network, which is set for an Aug. 14, 2014 launch. It would also possibly allow the permanent rivalries to remain intact.
But remaining with an eight-game schedule is also a possibility. When asked about whether SEC teams should expect pressure to play more conference games, McGarity said he didn’t expect pressure.
“I don’t. SEC teams will focus on playing one big-time opponent out of conference, while some schools might want to schedule four guaranteed victories in order to qualify for a bowl. It just depends on institutional philosophy.”