Fans Irritated At SEC’s Unlikeliness To Change Stance On Major Scheduling Decision

An SEC logo on the field at Neyland Stadium.

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Each year, the SEC receives criticism from the college football world due to its eight-game conference schedule. Fans from the Big Ten, Big XII, and PAC 12 see their favorite teams play nine matchups versus league foes annually, which some feel puts them at a disadvantage in terms of playoff chances.

For that reason, many would like to see the Southeastern Conference move to the nine-game format. While there are plenty of positives that would come from the change, a recent report hints that it’s “unlikely” to happen, at least for now.

There are certainly pros and cons of both the eight- and nine-game slates.

Many around the SEC believe it’s difficult enough to navigate the current setup as the league is arguably the most competitive in the nation. Adding another conference game presents an opportunity for a loss, which could potentially harm College Football Playoff chances, especially with the upcoming expansion to 12 teams.

On the flip side, a nine-game SEC schedule would provide more entertainment for fans while also giving each school an opportunity to play different conference foes more often. It would also be an easier way to preserve the traditional rivalries the league is so adamant about keeping.

Despite the benefits, the conference has stayed on the eight-game path and based on a recent report from Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger, a change won’t come before at least 2025.

“I don’t see the desire to go to a ninth game and not have any increase from a revenue standpoint,” an anonymous SEC administrator told Dellenger. “That’s what I think comes out this week, unless something dramatic happens.”

Now, the opinion could obviously change, particularly if more money is offered. On3 Sports writes that adding an extra SEC game to the schedule could be worth an additional $5 million a year from TV partner ESPN.

Commissioner Greg Sankey spoke on the possibility of a move in the future, saying, “the opportunity to play (secondary rivalries) every year instead of every other year” would be beneficial, though the league won’t make a move based solely on money.

The SEC is looking out for its own best interests, but many fans have been critical of the recent reports.

With Oklahoma and Texas soon joining the conference, annual rivalries between Auburn-UGA and Tennessee-Alabama could also be in jeopardy.

Many view this as purely a strategic move to keep as many playoff and postseason contenders alive as possible.

The fans are not happy.

We’ll see if this is just a temporary decision or if the SEC keeps that eight-game schedule permanently after 2024.