The 2014 SEC football schedule is out today, and here are the big details.
First, this slate formalizes the change in permanent rivalries for four schools. The conference wanted to make an annual border war out of Arkansas-Missouri, so they've got each other and Texas A&M and South Carolina have each other going on into the future. Adjust your mindset accordingly.
The other big news is which cross-division rotational matchups will be happening. Only one slot on anyone's schedule rotates anymore, so that's the big detail. Here are the rotation games:
- Auburn-South Carolina
- Ole Miss-Tennessee
- Mississippi State-Vanderbilt
- Missouri-Texas A&M
After a couple years of (mostly justified) complaining, LSU gets a favorable draw in the rotation department. LSU also won't be playing Arkansas on Thanksgiving week anymore; the Tigers will get the Aggies then from now on.
The usual SEC opener for Florida and Tennessee is changing, as they won't play each other until October 4. Except for 2001 when 9/11 postponed their game, they've played each other first on the conference slate every year since divisional play began in 1992.
Another change announced today is that the Kentucky-Louisville game is moving to the final week of the season. Louisville is not happy about it, but it will match the rest of the conference's series with ACC teams. UL will be in the ACC beginning next year.
Speaking of, the four SEC schools with season-ending ACC rivalries end their schedules on November 15. The rest of the league plays SEC games through the end of the season. Given that it's four East teams that have those games, that division is likely to be sewn up for good before the West is.
Finally, the release notes that we'll have one more year of hand-made schedules before getting a real rotation:
"The SEC Presidents and Chancellors have committed to a review of football scheduling to be completed in time for preparation of the 2016 schedule," Slive said at the spring meetings. "The objective of this review is to develop a scheduling format for the 2016 season and beyond, which will be in the best interests of the conference. The conference’s current 6-1-1 scheduling format will continue until a new format is approved by the conference membership."
Presumably, they'll have made the decision about using an eight or nine game schedule by then.