SEC Changes Football Scheduling Format for 2016
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - In an effort to strengthen their schedules, the Southeastern Conference announced Sunday that they will be adding some new changes to their scheduling format for football come 2016. The current format of eight conference games per season will remain in place but will be updated so that SEC teams are required to play a school from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 on an annual basis in one of their non-conference games.
There are some expected key advantages that this new scheduling could give to SEC teams. A few key points made by Chuck Dunlap, SEC Director of Communications is that the new provisions will equal out the number of home and away conference games and will provide for marquee neutral site games which have gained increased popularity in recent years.
SEC Commissioner, Mike Slive said, "the concept of strength-of-schedule is based on an entire 12-game schedule, a combination of both conference games together with non-conference games. Given the strength of our conference schedule supplemented by at least one major non-conference game, our teams will boast of a strong resume' of opponents each and every year."
Since the spring of 2013 the presidents and chancellors have been focused on creating a format that will in the long term best serve the conference. Scheduling a non-division opponent presents several advantages including the creation of cross-division rivalries that would be nonexistent otherwise. The new agenda was approved by a special joint-meeting of those presidents and chancellors of each SEC institution in addition to each conference athletic director.
Slive also argues that there is already evidence of the new formats success. "A number of our schools play annual ACC opponents, and recent history shows our schools are already playing a significant number of strong non-conference opponents across the country on a home and home basis or in neutral site games" said Slive.
The permanent non-division opponents are as listed below:
• Alabama (west) vs. Tennessee (east)
• Arkansas (west) vs. Missouri (east)
• Auburn (west) vs. Georgia (east)
• LSU (west) vs. Florida (east)
• Ole Miss (west) vs. Vanderbilt (east)
• Mississippi State (west) vs. Kentucky (east)
• Texas A&M (west) vs. South Carolina (east)