Don’t worry! Mississippi State is still our permanent cross-divisional opponent…for now.
One of the hot topics in the SEC Spring meetings yesterday was the SEC’s current 6-1-1 scheduling format in which the league’s teams play six divisional games, a permanent cross-divisional opponent and a rotating crossover opponent each season. Les Miles has been very vocal about dropping the permanent cross-divisional opponent because he feels it’s not fair that LSU has to play Florida each season while Alabama gets a weaker Tennessee. In turn, he’d like to see a 6-2 scheduling format, in which another rotating crossover opponent would be randomly assigned to each team. Not surprisingly, this also has some critics, since it would likely force the lower-tier SEC teams to give up some of their tougher non-conference games (so, for Kentucky, the Louisville series) in order to make their schedules more manageable.
Nick Saban proposed the most extreme format with nine games, broken down into 6-1-2 (six division, one permanent cross division game, two rotational cross division games), which would allow players to face every team in the league at least once in their career and fans to see each team play more often.
For now, Kentucky and its fellow mid- to lower-tier SEC teams are safe. Mike Slive says that the league will stick with the 6-1-1 format for the 2014 and likely the 2015 seasons:
“We have a format. We have a 6-1-1 format,” Slive said on Tuesday. “Last year we voted overwhelmingly to do the 6-1-1 permanent [crossover divisional opponent] and one rotator. The discussion about that format and any other possible formats is a conversation that’s underway. So until that format changes that’s our format. We’ll leave here with that format, but I think there’s going to be a lot of discussion at all levels about whether that format should continue indefinitely.”
Any changes they do decide on this week will go into effect in 2016. I just hope Kentucky’s strong enough to handle it by then.