The SEC is anticipated to finalize its soccer scheduling format for 2024 and past subsequent week when coaches and directors convene in Miramar Seaside, Florida, on the league’s annual spring conferences. One of many essential subjects on the desk shall be whether or not the league strikes to a nine-game schedule after enlargement — a transfer that, based on a number of studies, is shortly dropping assist. 

Directors have been debating proposed fashions for the reason that convention introduced in June 2021 that it’ll add Texas and Oklahoma. The finalists are a nine-game format that will function three everlasting rivals and 6 rotating opponents or an eight-game format that consists of 1 everlasting rival and 7 rotating video games. 

Brandon Marcello of 247Sports studies that Alabama coach Nick Saban is rising as one of many major opposing voices to the nine-game mannequin. Saban has lengthy supported including video games to the SEC schedule way back to 2012 when Texas A&M and Missouri joined the league.

“If you improve the dimensions of the league by 15 p.c, you have virtually acquired to play extra video games to get a real indication of who’s the very best workforce within the league,” he mentioned in 2012. “We should always provide you with some format sooner or later the place each participant within the league will get a chance to play each workforce within the league. We have sort of had that previously. This format will not essentially give each participant a chance to do this.”

Each of the proposed codecs heading into 2024 give groups the possibility to face every opponent within the convention each different yr, which comes near satisfying Saban’s wishes. Nevertheless, Saban appeared a bit annoyed in March when he acquired wind of the three everlasting opponents that had been proposed for the Crimson Tide. 

“I’ve all the time been an advocate for enjoying extra [conference] video games,” Saban informed Sports activities Illustrated. “However should you play extra video games, I feel you must get the three mounted [opponents] proper. They’re giving us Tennessee, Auburn and LSU. I do not know the way they arrive to that [decision].”

Marcello studies that Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi State and South Carolina opposed the nine-game mannequin, whereas Auburn, Tennessee and Ole Miss stay undecided about their votes. Vanderbilt has not indicated which proposal it favors.

There are drawbacks to every format. The eight-game mannequin would eradicate a present everlasting opponent, which suggests rivalries like Auburn-Georgia, Tennessee-Alabama and others might be in jeopardy of not being performed on annual foundation. The nine-game mannequin would maintain the overwhelming majority of rivalries intact however may create an enormous disparity on workforce’s power of schedule.

The expanded, 12-team School Soccer Playoff is without doubt one of the components concerned as nicely. That wasn’t even a glimmer within the eyes of directors when Texas A&M and Missouri joined the SEC, however now the trail to incomes a type of spots has drastically modified for the reason that four-team mannequin was introduced within the spring of 2012.

Plus, as Marcello notes, 12 of the soon-to-be 16 convention groups have 4 non-conference video games schedule in 2024, and 9 are totally booked out till 2026.

By Editor