The man in charge of SEC scheduling says there appears to be an early leader in the clubhouse.
The big questions in football scheduling starting in 2013: Who matches up with whom as permanent partners, how will other cross-division teams be rotated, and how far out will the SEC make this schedule? Templeton said the format appears to be the 6-1-1 model, meaning a team plays six divisional games, one permanent cross-division opponent and one rotating cross-division team. That’s what’s being used in 2012.
Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia should be safe as rivals. Kentucky-Mississippi State, South Carolina-Arkansas and LSU-Florida are permanent games that could be switched.
That makes coaches happy. And ADs trying to maximize the number of home games, too. The rest of us? Not so much. We fans are going to have long stretches between seeing most of the teams from the West.
And there’s still the networks to deal with, as well.
“I think what TV is interested in is how many quality games we’re going to have every Saturday,” Templeton said. “They’re more interested in what we’re doing the second week of the season and what are we doing the week before Thanksgiving with everybody either on an open date or nonconference games before their archrival games.”
CBS’ broadcast on the next-to-last weekend in 2011, Arkansas-Mississippi State, drew its second-lowest SEC rating of the season. The only other choices that day weren’t very appealing, either: Kentucky-Georgia, LSU-Ole Miss and Tennessee-Vanderbilt. The options on that day this season could be rough, too: Arkansas-Mississippi State, Ole Miss-LSU and Tennessee-Vanderbilt.
That sounds like the conference is hopeful it can make its broadcast partners happier by carefully parceling out the better matchups throughout the season. Maybe that’ll work, but it would be easier to boost inventory by adding a ninth conference game to the schedule. That won’t happen, though, without a big enough price tag attached.