SEC Stays With 8-Game League Schedule

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The Southeastern Conference on Sunday announced the format for future football scheduling that is a continuation of the existing format and adds a strength-of-schedule component that requires all schools to play an ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 opponent on an annual basis.

Each SEC team will continue to play eight conference football games per season, to include six games against division opponents and two games against non-division opponents.  One of the non-division opponents will be a permanent annual opponent and the other non-division opponent will rotate each year. 

Under the format, Ole Miss will continue to play Vanderbilt each year including this year's SEC opener on Saturday, Sept. 6 in Nashville's LP Field. Ole Miss enjoyed much recent success as well as well as a large and rapidly growing alumni base in Nashville.

"The existing strength of the SEC was certainly a significant factor in the decision to play eight games," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.  "In fact, just last year, five of our schools comprised the top five toughest schedules in the nation according to the NCAA and nine ranked in the top 20.

"A number of our schools play annual ACC opponents, and recent history shows our schools are already playing a significant number of strong non-conference opponents across the country on a home and home basis or in neutral site games."

A balanced league schedule for all teams - equal home and away conference games (four home and four away); a nine-game schedule would have resulted in some teams with five home games and others with four on an annual basis

Accommodates varying institutional non-conference scheduling philosophies

Allows for marquee neutral site games - the popularity of neutral site games has grown in recent years, as evidenced by large crowds and significant TV ratings for those games that feature major intersectional opponents

One of the non-division opponents will be a permanent annual opponent and the other non-division opponent will rotate each year.

Creates annual cross-division rivalries that otherwise would not be annual games

Provides each team with a traditional opponent for the final weekend of the season

In addition, at least one opponent from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 must be scheduled by each SEC school on an annual basis beginning in 2016, with assistance from the conference office. 

In recent years, Ole Miss has played a home-and-home with Texas Tech (2002, 2003), Wake Forest (2006, 2008), Missouri, which was then in the Big 12 (2006, 2007), and most recently, Texas (2012, 2013).

This year, Ole Miss will face Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. While the Broncos would not meet the new requirement, the Broncos have won 10 or more games in 10 of the last 12 years.

SEC Announces Format For Future Football Schedules

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