Les Miles, head coach of the LSU Tigers, has made it known over the last couple of weeks that he doesn’t like the current Southeastern Conference football scheduling format. He’s also not in favor of a nine-game SEC slate, which has been a hot topic around the conference since the announcement of the forthcoming SEC Network next August.
Miles does not like the current format where each team plays the six other opponents in their own division, one permanent opponent from the other division and one opponent from the other division that rotates.
The problem that Miles has with the format is that certain teams get a break from that permanent opponent from the other division. Most notably for LSU is that the Alabama Crimson Tide face the Tennessee Volunteers each season in a rivalry that has been played since 1901, including every season since 1944. It just so happens that Tennessee has had some struggles over the past five years, giving Alabama somewhat of a breather in their permanent cross-conference opponent game.
On the other hand, LSU annually faces the Florida Gators from the Eastern Division. Florida has been one of the best teams in the conference, if not the country, in recent years, and Miles doesn’t believe that it’s fair for his team to play a Top-10 team each year, while his division rivals are getting away with playing a team that’s trying to break-even each year.
Miles will take his argument to the SEC’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla., next week. However, not many folks outside of Baton Rouge see this portion of the scheduling changing very soon. Since the SEC split into divisions in 1992 (when the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Arkansas Razorbacks joined the conference), permanent opponents from the opposite division have been in place.
The LSU headman has an uphill battle ahead of him, and it will be tough to convince the powers within the conference to make a change. However, the SEC is about to make a scheduling plan for the next eight years, so Miles has got timing on his side, if a change is indeed to be made.