As talk swirls among SEC administrators, school president, coaches and a whole lot of fans about the future of football scheduling, the first of a series of meetings will be held this week in Nashville to discuss the future of the new 14-team SEC and the likelihood that "permanent" cross-division opponents will survive.
That's minor news for most schools - no one would miss annual "rivalries" like Mississippi State vs. Kentucky, Arkansas vs. South Carolina, Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt and even the impressive (but history-free) LSU and Florida series. Where it's a REALLY big deal is among four schools who hold two rivalries to be sacred: Alabama vs. Tennessee, and Auburn vs. Georgia, the Deep South's oldest football rivalry.
The Chattanooga Time Free Press profiles the potential changes facing SEC football, and the battle ahead to either modify or scrap a format that could end annual games between the Tigers and Bulldogs. Says Georgia's Greg McGarity:
"At some point, does the conference make a statement preserving the historical pieces?" said McGarity, who spent 18 years in Florida's athletic department before becoming Georgia's AD in 2010. "I hope that there will be a level of concern and compassion for those two rivalry games. The Florida-LSU rivalry is not a big deal, so the worry there is that it would be a 10-4 vote."