Bulldogs Blog

Analysis: Expected scheduling plan still the most likely

DESTIN, Fla. - The coaches have left the SEC meetings, flying back to their respective campuses. Now it's up to their bosses to make their decisions.

The coaches insurrection against the 6-1-1 scheduling format was a nice sideshow on Wednesday. But I'll be surprised if one of the following doesn't happen on Friday:

- The 6-1-1 scheduling format is indeed adopted.

- The decision is punted down the road.

The other options - going to nine games, or going to a 6-2 format that puts cross-division rivalries in jeopardy - still aren't dead, but they've been on life support for awhile. That remains the case even after the coaches had their say on Wednesday.

"It's gonna be one of those decisions that whatever's being made, some are gonna like it and some aren't," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said.

Richt, along with Gene Chizik and Derek Dooley, are among the coaches who would vote for the 6-1-1 format, or at least keeping the traditional rivalries. On the opposite end is LSU's Les Miles, who claimed that "most coaches" were in favor of 6-2. But it wasn't clear if Miles was correct on that point.

Whatever the case, it probably doesn't matter. Remember last year, when the coaches supposedly were unanimous against the 25-man signing class limit? Yeah, two days later the presidents voted it through anyway.

Here's the key: SEC commissioner Mike Slive, whether he says publicly or not, is in favor of keeping the rivalries. Just like last year, when he made those "roster management" proposals, which included the 25-man signing limit. The SEC school presidents also don't mind any opportunity to remind people that they make the big decisions, not their highly-paid football coaches.

There is one possible compromise solution ... but it would be very difficult. Slive said on Wednesday that they will study keeping a 6-1-1 format for Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee and Alabama, while going with a 6-2 for the rest of the league. That way everyone would be happy. Well, everyone except the schedule-makers who have to figure that out. That option apparently hasn't been studied hard enough at this point, and that's where the SEC could decide on Friday that they want to study it a bit more, rather than making a decision this week.

Or they might just go full speed ahead with the 6-1-1 format. In any case, I wouldn't expect the Georgia-Auburn series to go anywhere.

"There's definitely a feeling that there's certain games that are the fabric of this conference that need to be played on an annual basis," Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said after Wednesday's meeting." Ours is the oldest rivalry in the South. And Alabama-Tennessee, what is that the third Saturday in October? Those are things that I think for the historical piece of our league need to be maintained. And I think there are other A.D.'s that feel the same way."