published Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Scheduling is hot topic at SEC meet

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    Steve Spurrier is the head coach of South Carolina

With two days down and two days remaining at the Southeastern Conference spring meetings, the future football scheduling format continues to be passionately debated.

The only certainty is that Steve Spurrier's proposal that only division games determine division winners is out.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive described the 6-1-1 model, in which each team plays its six divisional opponents, a permanent foe from the opposite division and a rotating foe from the opposite division, as "the leader in the clubhouse." LSU officials, however, would like to end their annual matchup against Florida and believe a 6-2 model would be more balanced and would enhance the frequency in which teams from the opposite sides would play.

"Mississippi State is going to play Kentucky every year, and I think that is disproportionate," Tigers coach Les Miles told reporters Wednesday at the gathering in Destin, Fla. "I'm not for Auburn playing Georgia every year. Again, it's disproportionate. I think there should be an opportunity to see a greater segment of the conference."

Said LSU athletic director Joe Alleva: "It's not because I'm opposed to playing Florida. I just think it creates a competitive inequity. In my opinion, people are voting for their own self-interests, not what is best for the whole league."

Adopting a 6-2 model would eliminate Alabama playing Tennessee and Auburn playing Georgia on an annual basis. There has been discussion of those four schools using a 6-1-1 format and the other 10 teams going with a 6-2.

"We have looked at that, and there is some real complexities with that," Slive said. "That is a nice solution if it was available, but like everything else, every time we do something it raises another set of issues, and you have got to balance those against the issues raised by another format."

Coaches voiced their concerns to their athletic directors Wednesday, and the athletic directors are scheduled to make their recommendation to school presidents Friday.

The league's basketball counterparts have had a much easier time, proposing an 18-game schedule in which each team would play the other 13 teams at least once. There would be one permanent home-and-home series annually, while the remaining four games would rotate among the other 12 teams.

Among the permanent basketball rivalries would be Tennessee-Vanderbilt, Florida-Kentucky, Alabama-Auburn and Georgia-South Carolina, so Kentucky and Tennessee no longer would play twice in most years.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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