ATLANTA—The SEC won't be changing its scheduling matrix anytime soon.
On Monday, while launching the four-day SEC Media Days event at the College Football Hall of Fame, commissioner Greg Sankey said the conference doesn't anticipate any substantive changes to its eight-game model for league games.
As such, the SEC won't be joining the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 as Power 5 conferences which subscribe to a nine-game model for league play.
"Is it time to refresh matchups?" Sankey wondered rhetorically, after fielding a question about the scheduling system. "I don't think we've arrived there yet."
Since Texas A&M and Missouri joined the conference in 2012, the SEC has supported a 6-1-1 method for league scheduling:
**Round-robin play inside the division (six games)
**One permanent crossover opponent (Alabama-Tennessee, Auburn-UGA, LSU-Florida, etc.)
**One rotating crossover opponent each year
The final component could be a bone of contention among SEC fans and media.
For example, UGA hasn't played LSU in Baton Rouge since 2008. If the conference went to a nine-game scheduling model, these long gaps involving SEC venues and certain crossover opponents would close substantially.
(Note: The Dawgs play at LSU on Oct. 13.)
In terms of mixing up the matchups, either via divisional realignment or just making things more random, Sankey was quick to eliminate this from consideration.
"Divisional structure has developed a number of really important rivalries," said Sankey, who succeeded the late Mike Slive as league commissioner in 2015. "Those rivalries are really healthy, and I think, unique."
Here's the breakdown of the Power 5 scheduling models:
**The SEC and ACC (both comprised of 14 football members) remain committed to an eight-game conference schedule, with six divisional outings and two crossovers. Both leagues host championship games on the first Saturday of December.
**The Big Ten, which endorsed the eight-game model from 1985-2015, approved a nine-game system in 2016. This relatively new movement calls for six divisional outings and three crossovers … along with a title bout at season’s end (East vs. West champions).
**The 10-team Big 12 has a simple round-robin model for conference play. After that, the top two teams square off on the first Saturday of December.
Within this system, the conference title game will always be a rematch.
**The Pac-12 supports a nine-game model, with five divisional outings and four crossovers. The North and South champions meet at season’s end to determine the conference champ.