The SEC spring meetings are next week. Will the conference decide on a schedule format for 2024 then? Who knows? Maybe even Greg doesn’t.
If SEC officials meet for four days at a beach resort and no 2024 football schedule is approved, did it really even happen?
That question could become relevant after the SEC’s spring meetings next week in Miramar Beach, Florida.
For the second straight year, the SEC’s schedule format for ’24 and beyond will be a central topic of debate. No football schedule is approved after this season, the final year before the SEC expands to 16 teams.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told me in early March that he expected a vote on the schedule to occur within 90 days. In other words, by the end of spring meetings.
By April, he’d eased on that timeline.
“Could be,” Sankey said then, when asked if the schedule would be decided at the meetings. “But, I said that last year, too.”
Indeed, coaches and administrators debated eight- and nine-game schedule formats a year ago. No vote occurred.
I think it’s safe to say at this point that Sankey hasn’t made a convincing case to his broadcast partner that the additions of Oklahoma and Texas should accrue to the SEC’s financial benefit under their contract. I also think it’s fair to say that momentum appears to be shifting away from the nine-conference game format.
Kentucky and South Carolina are among the schools on record favoring staying with eight SEC games. Florida, LSU and Texas A&M are among those favoring nine.
But the divide is not neatly divided among the SEC’s haves and have-nots. Sports Illustrated reported that Nick Saban told the publication Alabama favors sticking with eight conference games, a pivot from his years-long pandering for a ninth conference game. Saban’s stated hang-up with the nine-game format revolved around Alabama’s earmarked rivals being Auburn, LSU and Tennessee.
I mean, when you’ve lost Nick Saban…
One downside of sticking with eight conference games would be the sacrifice of some longstanding annual secondary rivalries, like Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia.
Eh, what’s a century’s worth of tradition, compared to appeasing Saban’s self-interest?
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