The buzz about the SEC possibly moving to a nine-game conference schedule in football seems to have been officially extinguished by league officials.
CBSSports.com is reporting that the league will stay with an eight-game slate, despite recent expansion and the number of teams in the conference right now.
“All 14 teams will be expected to play at least one opponent from the four other power conferences, which most SEC schools already do, while playing a 6-1-1 format inside the league (six divisional games, one permanent crossover, one roaming crossover).”
“The ACC can justify eight games because of its partnership with Notre Dame, which plays five league opponents per season, in rotation. But a handful of athletic directors and coaches prefer a move to nine.
Two power conferences, the Pac-12 and Big 12, are playing a nine-game slate. The Big Ten is bumping from eight to nine in 2016.”
Fowler reports that with the SEC staying put, the ACC is expected to stay at eight as well.
It probably would have made sense for the SEC to move to nine games to further maximize the fourteen teams that it has right now. Of course, with more conference games, that would have equaled more potential in-conference matchups for the new SEC Network to play with, and, in turn, more eyeballs, which equals more money. Further league expansion could open the door for this topic to be revisited.
The South Carolina Gamecocks’ permanent crossover opponent, Texas A&M, will launch the new SEC Network on August 14.