The Southeastern Conference has been a dominant force in college football, especially over the last decade. The SEC won seven straight BCS Championships in that span, a streak that ended last season when the Auburn Tigers came up just short.
Over the weekend, the SEC once again set a trend in college football. After discussing the possibility of playing nine league games, in part to provide inventory for the upcoming SEC Network, the league balked at that plan. But what they did instead was innovative.
Beginning in 2016, each SEC school will play eight conference games. In addition, each team must play one game against a team from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12. Many teams in the conference already satisfy this requirement by playing a rivalry game (think Florida vs. Florida State, South Carolina vs. Clemson, Georgia vs. Georgia Tech).
By making this change, the SEC is looking ahead to the strength of schedule component that will be a part of the new college football playoff. Scheduling a team from another of the “Big Five” conferences will help SEC teams in that category, thus making more teams from the conference attractive to the selection committee.
This move also ensures that traditional rivalry games can stay in place. A move to a nine-game conference slate could have eliminated some of college football’s best non-conference rivalries.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive continues to lead the way in college athletics, and this is just another example of why Slive is the best commissioner in college sports.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.