SEC football and basketball coaches have been in Destin, Florida this week trying to assemble schedules for the new 14-team league. I gathered from an ESPN article that the basketball coaches are having an easier time with it than the football skippers.
ESPN revealed the following in regards to next season’s basketball scheduling:
“They proposed an 18-game league schedule that would keep all 14 teams together instead of moving back to divisions. Teams would play everyone at least once (13 games) and have one annual home-and-home series with a designated rival. Those rivalries are Kentucky-Florida, Tennessee-Vanderbilt, Georgia-South Carolina, Alabama-Auburn, Mississippi-Mississippi State, Arkansas-Missouri and LSU-Texas A&M.
The remaining four games each season would be filled by the other 12 teams on a rotating basis.
The format, along with changes to the postseason tournament, likely will be approved Friday.”
At the moment, it appears that Georgia hit the “designated rival” jackpot in drawing neighboring South Carolina instead of Florida. Geographically, it makes more sense to pair Kentucky with South Carolina and Georgia with Florida; however, I’m guessing that both Florida and Kentucky feel satisfied with this decision as it will routinely bolster each team’s respective RPI.
In the long run, I believe that the SEC’s decision to move to one division will ultimately benefit UGA basketball. The Dawgs will inevitably have some years when they play the likes of a Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee or Vanderbilt twice, yet this new schedule is far more attractive considering up until this year they played all of those teams two times per season.
Rising junior Donte Williams, who earlier this week was arrested for possession of marijuana, should be available for the start of next year’s SEC slate.