Editor's note: SEC media days begin July 14. Every year, a theme seems to emerge, whether it's a tiff between coaches or a cause taken up by commissioner Mike Slive. But with a little more than a week until it arrives, what are the top storylines entering the annual media event? Ryan Black gives his take, counting down from 10-1.
No. 9: Scheduling
Prior to the beginning of the SEC's spring meetings in Destin, Fla., last month, my colleague at The (Macon, Ga.) Telegraph, Seth Emerson, wrote there was one thing Mike Slive didn't want on the docket: football scheduling. That's why the SEC had already announced it was sticking with an eight-game schedule (in a 6-1-1 format) and revealed every school's cross-division opponent through 2025.
Then, of course, coaches didn't stick to the "no talk of schedules" edict once the spring meetings got underway. Florida's Will Muschamp discussed his intent to move away from scheduling FCS opponents in future seasons. (Insert your "Georgia Southern joke" here.) Georgia's Mark Richt dropped hints that his team may have "a few more goodies" in the near future when it comes to non-conference scheduling. Even Slive broke his own rule by sitting down with Tony Barnhart and explaining why the league stuck with an eight-game schedule.
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SEC media days should only add more views on these issues. LSU coach Les Miles has consistently argued against the "permanent cross-division" aspect of scheduling, as it has forced his team to face Florida every season. There's no reason to think he'll change his tune now.
Another coach who has no problem expressing his view on scheduling (or anything else, for that matter) is Steve Spurrier, who didn't endear himself to Ole Miss fans at media days two years ago when he said he'd prefer to switch schedules with Georgia; the Bulldogs hosted the Rebels that season while the Gamecocks had to travel to Tiger Stadium.
Along with Miles and Spurrier, other coaches will likely give their thoughts — or will be asked about — about non-conference scheduling going forward. One change the SEC made when it announced it was staying with a 6-1-1 format is that each team in the league is now required to take on a non-conference foe from a "Power 5" conference. Some schools, such as Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky, have annual in-state rivalries that take care of that requirement.
That means the rest of the league has work to do, which will hopefully lead to some tantalizing non-conference matchups in the future.