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SEC Athletic Directors Will Discuss Nine-Game Conference Schedule This Week

Protecting long-standing cross-divisional rivalries like Georgia-Auburn and Alabama-Tennessee has been the main stumbling block to scheduling in the new 14-team SEC.

SEC athletic directors will meet in Nashville Wednesday to discuss scheduling options for the now 14-team conference going forward, with a possible nine-game football schedule likely one of the main topics of conversation.

After adding Texas A&M and Missouri, the conference went to a 6-1-1 schedule in 2012, with each team playing all six division members, one protected rivalry game as well as a one rotating game with the other 5 members from the opposite division.

However, protecting rivalry games like Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia in a 14-team conference means that it would take 12 years for schools to fully rotate through SEC opponents.

Adding a ninth conference game would fix that, but at the cost of potentially costing teams bowl eligibility by removing one weak non-conference opponent, which is why few AD's have publicly spoken out for it.

Further complicating the issue is the ACC's decision to go to nine conference games in 2017 and a new scheduling agreement between the Big 10 and the Pac-12, which could make it difficult for SEC teams to fill out a full non-conference schedule in the future.

Either way, with such an emotionally fraught issue being discussed, it's unlikely that any final decision is made this week.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.