Thursday, October 18, 2012

Burning Question: How many teams will get bye weeks before facing Bama?

Via Jon Solomon over at

At least four SEC football teams could change "permanent" cross-divisional opponents when the conference soon releases its 2013 schedule, SEC Executive Associate Commissioner Mark Womack said today.

Womack would not discuss which teams could flip who they annually play from the opposite division. SEC schools are currently reviewing the projected 2013 schedule.

"There's a possibility of changing permanent partners," Womack said. "It will be in order to balance the schedule toward the end of the schedule (rotation). The schedule will probably be coming by the end of the week."

[Checks calendar] Yep. It’s Thursday, so we’ll probably get something later today or tomorrow.

The challenge is two-fold: How do you maintain a schedule that allows divisional opponents to play a round-robin slate as required by the NCAA and preserve the two traditional rivalries of Alabama – Tennessee and Auburn – Georgia?

Solomon mentions the other challenge of balancing home vs away games, but that’s been an issue every year. For example, Alabama played most of its most important games in Bryant Denny in 2011. This year, the Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU games took the bus. Over an extended period of time, the balance sort of… well, it balances itself out.

The 6-1-1 format looks like it’s going to stick around for awhile, and Auburn fans can pretty much rest assured that no, they are not fleeing to the SEC East and destroying the divisional balance that has existed since the league first split into two divisions in 1992.

But the real burning question is in the title: How many SEC teams will enjoy a bye week before having to play that juggernaut from Tuscaloosa?

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