The Deep South’s Oldest Football Rivalry remains intact … at least for the time being. The South Eastern Conference Presidents voted this week end to adopt the 6-1-1 scheduling format for its new 14 team league.
The vote allows for the protection of traditional SEC rivalries, the most notable being the Auburn- Georgia and the Tennessee – Alabama games.
With the new model, each school will play all of the teams in their division with one permanent team and one rotating team from the other side of the league.
Track Em Tigers Editor Jay Coulter opined back in February that the thought of the Auburn-Georgia game going away was impossible. He said, “It was bad enough when Tennessee and Florida vanished from the yearly Auburn schedule back in 1992. But Georgia? That’s sacred.”
However, not every one in the SEC looks at it that way. In particular, LSU wanted to do away with permanent partners.
Apparently LSU feels like their schedule is too tough to keep Florida as their permanent partner. That argument could be made by Auburn as well but the AU administration feels like the Georgia rivalry is more important.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said Saturday, it was imperative that a model be developed so that schedules can be set for the next three to four years. That sounds like more changes could be coming after a year or two. And the league can definitely revisit the issue in future meetings.
With the new schedule it will take 12 years for each team to play all the teams from the other division; so there may still be a chance for the nine game format to be brought back up. While that would seem like a better way for the conference to have all the teams play each other more often, it might end the traditional rivalries.
While the Iron Bowl is the nation’s most fiercest rivalry, there is nothing quite like the South’s Oldest Rivalry: 119 years of heated competition, 119 years of great moments on both sides, 119 years of great gridiron memories.
Tradition – it’s what sets college football apart from the pro’s.
For some it will always be preferable for all SEC teams to play each other more frequently. For old timers like me though …
Nothing trumps tradition.