Majority of SEC Football Coaches Prefer 8-Game Conference Schedule
The Southeastern Conference held its annual Spring meetings in Destin, Fl., last month and several topics were up for discussion. Greg Sankey had to settle the beef between Alabama's Nick Saban and Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher, try to resolve the different views on how to use NIL and had to start getting a feel for a new conference scheduling model with the pending addition of Oklahoma and Texas.
The SEC has long played an eight-game conference schedule as teams play all six division opponents, one cross-division permanent rival and one rotating opponent from the opposite division.
Nearly each time the subject is brought to Alabama head coach Nick Saban's attention he has advocated for for increasing the schedule the nine regular season games. He has detailed how it's better for the fans with more marquee games, better for the players as they see more of the conference and better for the conference as it ensures it stays the top football conference in America.
Unfortunately for Saban it seems as if he is still in the minority as the SEC coaches as a group reportedly voted to stay at an eight-game regular season.
Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops revealed to KSR radio on Friday that the eight-game regular season schedule received 8-of-14 votes among the active SEC coaches.
“Where we stand, if we were to take a vote with the football coaches in Destin — I hate speaking for people — the majority was eight,” Stoops shared with KSR. “The reason being, a lot of us have cross-over games: South Carolina and Clemson, we have Louisville and we want to keep that. To play nine conference games and Louisville, that’s tough.”
While the vote does not mean the decision is final, it does give a picture of what's going through the minds of the majority of coaches.
Stoops went on to discuss the cut-throat nature of college football and adding another SEC matchup to the schedule could create complications for programs that are struggling.
Programs must traditionally win at least six games to receive a bowl game bid, keeping four non-conference games on the schedule allows for programs to schedule winnable games and creates more room for errors in conference play.
While 2020 was largely an awful year for the nation dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic it did give football fans a 10-game SEC-only schedule that thoroughly entertained the Southeast.
Texas and Oklahoma are coming to the SEC by 2025 at the latest and while the football format is not set in stone, the current conference coaches let their voices be known at the SEC Spring meetings last month.