As David Paschall of The Chattanooga Times Free Press points out in this piece, some mighty important talks are coming up in the next two weeks involving the SEC's athletic directors.
At the heart of those talks, scheduled to take place at both the SEC women's and men's basketball tournaments, are how the SEC will structure its long-term football schedule following the 2012 season. More specifically, there's a chance that long-standing rivalry games like Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia might be discontinued, at least on an annual basis.
With Missouri and Texas A&M added to the mix, the league has to decide if it makes sense to keep one permanent opponent and one rotating opponent outside the division every year — which would protect the Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia rivalries — or go to two rotating opponents.
Teams are going to play six divisional opponents, and under an eight-game schedule, that leaves two more games. Rotating both of those games would ensure facing teams from the other division more frequently, but it would kill the annual showdowns between Alabama and Tennessee and Auburn and Georgia.
It will be interesting to see how keen the rest of the league is on protecting the Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia rivalries and how the athletic directors outside those schools vote.
The one option none of the coaches would be for is to go to nine conference games, and it's doubtful that's the direction the SEC decides to go.