SEC scheduling format safe ... for now

DESTIN, Fla. -- Scheduling talk has been at the top of the list of topics at this year's SEC spring meetings, but it looks like the league's current 6-1-1 format is hanging around for the time being.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Tuesday that while he's "wide open" to discussing other scheduling formats, teams will continue to play six divisional games, a permanent cross-divisional opponent and a rotating crossover opponent through the 2014 season.

"We have a format. We have a 6-1-1 format," Slive said. "Last year we voted overwhelmingly to do the 6-1-1 permanent [crossover divisional opponent] and one rotator. The discussion about that format and any other possible formats is a conversation that's underway. So until that format changes that's our format.

"We'll leave here with that format, but I think there's going to be a lot of discussion at all levels about whether that format should continue indefinitely."

The 2014 schedule could be finalized this week, Slive said.

So what about 2015?

"Most likely a 6-1-1," Slive said.

The 6-2 format (six divisional games with two rotating crossover opponents) isn't dead by any means, but you likely won't see it implemented in the SEC any time soon.

Slive, who certainly doesn't like to give away too much when surrounded by the media, said there isn't a concrete date set for figuring out when or if the conference will change its scheduling format, but it doesn't look like there will be any change within the next three seasons.

Now, the league could decide to move to nine conference games or decide to move to the 6-2 format this week, but chances are it won't go into effect until the 2016 season.

In talking to some coaches, the 6-2 scheduling model can be worrisome because it could mean some schools would drop regular nonconference rivalry games -- like Kentucky dumping Louisville -- in order to lighten their load at times. No Eastern Divison team wants to play Alabama and LSU during the same season, and no West team wants to play Florida and Georgia in the same year.

LSU coach Les Miles has been very vocal about getting rid of the permanent crossover opponent because LSU is tired of playing Florida to go with its SEC West schedule every year. That makes sense, but there are a handful of other crossover rivalries that schools would like to keep.

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin isn't close to being in favor of a 6-2 format:

"We'll go to nine and people will say, 'We don't have enough sexy out-of-conference games anymore, so you're going to have to play nine and another.' When's it going to stop? Two years from now they're going to say, 'You know, we probably ought to schedule an NFL team. You're probably going to have to play the Jets. You're going to have to play the Falcons.' Now we're going to play nine games and and an NFL team. When's it going to end?"

Obviously, the SEC won't be scheduling any NFL teams, but you get the point.

Nothing official could come out of this week's spring meetings, and the league might not make a decision until after spending a year in the college football playoff, but it's clear that all of this schedule talk is very important to just about everyone involved.