Nine SEC conference games 'inevitable'


DESTIN, Fla. – The short-term answer for the SEC is to keep the number of conference games at eight, but coaches and athletic directors agreed Wednesday that a move to nine conference games is probably inevitable.

The head coaches voted 13-1 to stay at eight conference games. The only coach voting for nine was Alabama’s Nick Saban.

Larry Templeton, who has headed up scheduling during the SEC’s transition to 14 schools, said a rotation has been approved through 2026 that would include eight conference games with six divisional opponents, one permanent cross-divisional opponent and one rotating cross-divisional opponent.

That rotation will begin in 2014, but the question becomes: How long will that format remain in place?

“Personally, I think we’ll end up moving to nine (conference) games eventually,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “My personal opinion (is) you create an SEC Network, at the end of the day, it’s going to be driven by the dollar, and having those games is going to be important, and having enough quality games on television promoting a nine-game SEC regular season, in my opinion, will eventually happen.”

SEC commissioner Mike Slive said it’s doubtful the 2014 schedule will be finalized this week at the league's spring meetings. He’s declined to weigh in on whether he’s in favor of going to nine conference games. But he didn’t hold back on the importance of SEC schools upgrading their nonconference schedules.

“I don’t want us playing four games that mean less,” Slive said. “I made that very clear.”

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