SEC schools agree on key issues at spring meetingBy TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
The Southeastern Conference has come to a consensus on a number of key issues this morning, the final day of the SEC Spring Meetings at the Sandestin Hilton in Destin, Fla.
Missouri athletic director Mike Alden confirmed that the league will adopt a 6-1-1 format for football, which calls for six games against division opponents and one each against a permanent rival and rotating opponent.
For basketball, Alden said the league will support an 18-game format, with calls for annual home-and-homes with permanent rivals and four rotating opponents twice a year. Teams will play the remaining schools in the league once in a given season.
Alden also confirmed that Missouri's permanent rival under both formats will be Arkansas. Football coach Gary Pinkel said earlier in the week that at one point, he expected Missouri's permanent rival to be Texas A&M, which would obviously help Missouri maintain its deep recruiting pipeline in Texas.
However, Alden said Friday that he and Pinkel discussed the various options, and agreed that a Missouri-Arkansas permanent rival would be what's best for the league, and added that Missouri can maintain its presence in Texas by scheduling future non-conference games there.
Finally, it appears the SEC has also come to a consensus on its preferred playoff format. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said the SEC will officially support a four-team playoff with the top four teams. This is not a surprise - Florida president Bernie Machen said as much Thursday, adding that while there will need to be some compromise among conferences to make the playoff happen, this is one issue the league is unwilling to compromise on. Etc.
The schedule for the upcoming Big East-SEC Challenge was released Friday morning, and neither of the league's newcomers - Missouri and Texas A&M - will participate. There has been speculation that Missouri is working on scheduling a notable Big East team to come to Columbia this season, and with Syracuse pulling out of the Big East challenge - news that also broke Friday morning - some might assume it would be the Orange.
But Alden seemingly shot down that possibility Friday, saying Missouri has had conversations with Syracuse but as of now, a nonconference game between the two schools appears unlikely.