The new SEC football schedule will have to wait

I’ve done a lot of work to provide the Southeastern Conference with an ideal plan for their proposed future 3-6-6 football plan for 2025 when Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big 12 and join the SEC. (The plan will work even if the two newcomers arrive in 2024.)

To show credit, it was my plan with critical improvements from BamaOnLine contributing readers.

So what happened to the anticipated schedule reform at the SEC Spring Meeting in Destin last week?

Nothing.

“We’ll see,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey responded to most questions about the schedule reform. There was no urgency to get it done this spring. He suggested a solution could come later this year.

Our 3-6-6 plan provided a fair mix of the three constant opponents for each team, and if not absolutely equal, it would probably be pretty even. Any imbalance could be corrected by selecting the rotation of six of the remaining 12 opponents in a four-year pattern, with each SEC team playing every other league team home and away.

Keep in mind that most conference strengths and weaknesses are cyclical, the possible exceptions being Alabama at or near the top and Vanderbilt not.

Nine conference games means that every other year half the teams would have turned over four home conference games and the other half would have turned over five league games using this pattern every year.

I wasn’t trying to work out a four-year, nine-game schedule with this flip. That’s a job for a computer, and like a surgeon who has his subordinate close by at the end of the operation, I leave that to a competent SEC computer man.

The nine-game plan meets two obvious goals: 1.) more quality football games. 2.) make the SEC a conference rather than two divisions.

It also eliminates divisions, allowing the SEC championship game to contest the top two teams instead of the winners of the two divisions.

So what’s the hold? Reportedly, about half of the teams — the glass-broken crowd, those who need to buy enough non-conference games to qualify for a smaller bowl game — don’t want the one thing that a nine-game conference schedule also delivers: nine more Total losses for the league.

Jimbo coaches his team to five losses a year instead of his normal four. The Tigers don’t have a chance to retaliate at the Birmingham Bowl.

There was also reportedly support for a new eight-game plan, the 1-7, meaning one permanent opponent and seven rotating. It would achieve much the same as the 3-6-6 model, but the SEC teams would only play eight conference games and therefore each team would play four home and four away games in the league. From the point of view of the lower half of the league, it would be a possible defeat less.

Reports during and before the Destin meeting were that about 30 models were reduced to 3-6-6 and 1-7, but without an agreement it’s possible something else will be resolved.

Anyway, we’re waiting. As I said: “No rush.”

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