College Sports

SEC meetings analysis: A review of the major news

DESTIN, Fla. -- The SEC wrapped up its spring meetings on Friday with an efficient set of decisions on scheduling, permanent opponents and the proposed four-team playoff to decide college football's national champions.

For the most part, the SEC mostly stayed in lockstep, presenting a unified front after the real decision-making ended.

With that in mind, here's a look at a few of the storylines from the SEC's week in Destin.

Power play?

The SEC's status as the nation's power conference is

unquestioned on the heels of six straight BCS championships and an all-SEC title game between Alabama and LSU.

But the SEC's run of dominance also appears to have sparked a push back from the Big Ten and Pac-12, who want the proposed four-team playoff to be conference champions only.

The SEC's proposal wants the top four teams in the country. If those two sides cannot agree, a compromise may have to be reached, but for the time being, the SEC's position is clear.

"More or less, we're going to take that position and see what the other conferences do," LSU chancellor Michael Martin said.

A schedule on the way

The SEC approved a 6-1-1 format by an 11-3 vote. While most of the SEC wanted to preserve the permanent opponent and its rivalries, a small section of schools, led by LSU, wanted to go away from that format.

LSU, in particular, cited playing Florida every year as a competitive imbalance to the schedule, an objection that has sparked some discussion that the schedule could be reviewed again in the near future.

For his part, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive does not think a 10-12 year schedule is possible. In 3-4 years, the schedule may be reviewed -- that is, if the conference does not expand again.

"I do think that the football schedule in this league is something that will continue to be studied," Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said.

An eye to rivalry

Perhaps more than any other conference, the SEC has always done a good job of recognizing historical and natural rivalries -- see Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee -- a tradition continued with the decision to establish permanent opponents based on sport.

For example, Florida's permanent opponent in men's basketball is Kentucky, but the women will play Georgia.

And the SEC made the right move in creating a natural rivalry between border states Arkansas and Missouri, rather than a forced agreement to play Texas A&M.

"I think Arkansas and Missouri is a natural border rival," Missouri athletic director Mike Alden said. "Plus, there's a lot of similarities between the fan bases."

Wild cards

As always, Steve Spurrier, the SEC's eternal wild card, shook up the meetings with proposals to count only divisional games toward a conference title and a plan to pay football and men's basketball players "$3,500 to $4,000" a year for expenses.

He found an ally on the divisional games proposal in LSU's Les Miles, and LSU helped drive one of the week's other big controversies, the idea of abolishing the permanent opponent.

In all cases, Spurrier and LSU said the coaches would support that, but the proposal to abolish a permanent rival fell 11-3.

No more home-and-home

With the 6-1-1 format in place, that one lone rotating opponent will no longer be a home-and-home proposition as it has been in the 12-team SEC.

And that makes perfect sense.

"If you went home-and-home," Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said, "then Georgia would not see Texas A&M for 11 years."

Nobody wants to wait that long, especially for games such as Georgia-Alabama or Auburn-Florida.

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