The Southeastern Conference announced today that it will implement the 6-1-1 football scheduling model for the 2013 season and beyond, thus protecting the longstanding cross-divisional matchups of Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia.
Missouri and Texas A&M will make their league debuts this fall, but they will not be future cross-divisional rivals. Missouri will play neighboring Arkansas, while Texas A&M will face South Carolina. The Aggies and Gamecocks never have met.
There had been talk of implementing a 12-year cycle for the league schedule, but commissioner Mike Slive said the 6-1-1 will be used for three or four years before being revisited. The 2013 schedule should be announced at some point this summer.
"We'll get it done as quickly as we can," Slive said today as the league's spring meetings concluded in Destin, Fla.
An 18-game league schedule in men's basketball also was passed, and it calls for Florida-Kentucky, Tennessee-Vanderbilt, Alabama-Auburn and Georgia-South Carolina to be among the annual rivalries. Tennessee no longer will play Kentucky twice in most seasons.
The SEC tournament now will begin on a Wednesday with play-in games for teams that finish 11th through 14th.
For more information, read Saturday's Times Free Press