The move from eight to nine league games was expected to take place when Texas and Oklahoma join in 2024. Not so fast.
The SEC may be getting some pushback when it comes to moving their eight-game conference schedule to nine. The move would coincide with the addition of Texas and Oklahoma in 2024.
The setup could be between two different proposed models — one in which an eight-game schedule allows for a permanent rival and seven rotating opponents and the second in which a 9-game schedule allows for three permanent rivals and six rotating opponents.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey seems set to make schedule changes, but he may have to deal with one burdensome leader that is opposed – Nick Saban, arguably the most famed head coach in college football.
“Alabama had long supported expanding the conference schedule to nine games, but Nick Saban voiced displeasure in March with the SEC’s projections for the Tide’s three permanent opponents (Auburn, LSU, and Tennessee) during an interview with Sports Illustrated. Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne’s opinion has also changed and is said to welcome discourse from colleagues,” 247 Sports Brandon Marcello wrote.
Kentucky is among the seven schools that oppose expanding the conference schedule, Marcello noted. Arkansas, Mississippi State, and South Carolina are among the others that wouldn’t prefer the latter option.
With the SEC set to begin meeting on Tuesday in Miramar Beach, the final notion on which avenue the conference will take should come in short order. Still, it seems more high-profile games between several of the best teams in college football would only aid the long-term prospectus of the conference.
The set rivals should be huge for ratings as well, and with many in support, it would be shocking to see them keep the eight-game schedule they have been doing despite the addition of two well-known programs.