SEC Correct to Stick with 6-1-1 Schedule

By Tim Letcher

The Southeastern Conference announced its football scheduling plan for the near future earlier this week. The schedule lays out who the rotating opponent will be for each team and where that game will be played.

Earlier this spring, the SEC rejected a plan supported by Nick Saban, head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, which would have moved the conference to nine league games each year. Instead, SEC teams will continue to play eight games within the conference and, beginning in 2016, one game against a team from one of the other “Big Five” conferences.

Before (and after) the announcement, there has been quite a bit of debate about how the SEC handles its football schedules. Each SEC team will play the six members of its particular division. In addition, each SEC team has one permanent rival from the opposite division that it plays each year. The final conference game is against a rotating opponent from the opposite division. This scheduling format has been called the 6-1-1, and it has drawn the ire of many media members, and even coaches like Les Miles of the LSU Tigers.

Those against the plan need to present a better alternative than any the conference has seen to this point. The 6-1-1 was originally conceived to keep cross-division rivalries (Alabama vs. Tennessee, Auburn vs. Georgia) alive, because college football counts on tradition more than anything. If no serious alternative is offered, the 6-1-1 will remain for the foreseeable future.

At this point, those against this plan will have to accept that they have lost the current battle. And if there’s no plan to make the SEC change their thinking, those same folks may have lost the war as well.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for 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.

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