Bulldogs Blog

Some football coaches push back on 6-1-1 format

DESTIN, Fla. - Once again, it appears the SEC coaches are on a different page from their bosses. And once again, they could be over-ruled.

Last year it was limiting signing classes. This year it's the revamped conference schedule.

Entering the week, the SEC was expected to approve a new scheduling model, a so-called 6-1-1 format: Six games against fellow division opponents, one against a permanent cross-division rival, and one against a rotating cross-division opponent.

But many coaches, especially those not from four schools (including Georgia and Auburn) with a traditional cross-division rival, pushed back on that Tuesday.

"It was kind of all over the place. Everybody kind of had their own agenda," Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said after the meeting with coaches, A.D.'s and commissioner Mike Slive.

LSU head coach Les Miles was the most vocal opponent of the 6-1-1 plan. He would prefer a 6-2 format, with no permanent rivalries.

Slive said there was a "vigorous discussion" among the coaches.

"The coaches, I thought were very impressive," Slive said. "It was a sharing session with our athletic directors, and looking, thinking of the various different formats. The pros and cons. They were really very thoughtful, and shared the complexities of developing a format. The same complexities our athletic directors had been sharing over the couple of months."

Slive said he anticipates a new format to be decided on Friday. The indications are it is still likely to be the 6-1-1 format; the football coaches did not register any official vote, like they did last year when they voted against the new signing limit of 25 - which was adopted two days later.

Still, Slive was not ruling out anything. A nine-game schedule still hasn't officially been ruled out, but is far from likely.

"Whether or not it has any serious traction is another question. But it was certainly one of the formats that was discussed," Slive said.

"Coming in there was a leader in the clubhouse," Slive said of the 6-1-1 format. "But the coaches came to the A.D.'s and had a chance, at least after having a chance to look at it very carefully over the last couple days, expressed their views of the pros and cons of each one."

There is one possible compromise solution, but it would create even more headaches: Could the four schools with traditional rivals keep their games, while everyone else rotates two non-division games per year?

"We've asked our people to look at that as one of the possible formats," Slive said. "We have looked at that. There's a lot of complexities. That's a nice solution if it's available. But like everything else, every time you do something it raises another set of issues, and you've got to balance those issues with every other format."

Meantime, Steve Spurrier's proposal to only count division record predictably died in committee.

"We were not able to come to a consensus on that," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. "The more that was discussed, the more everybody realized that's not gonna happen. Your crossover games are gonna have to count. It's true in just about every sport in America; you may have your divisional games in the NFL, and you may have your games that are not."