The SEC has been in deep conversation about future scheduling with a 14 team conference. Not much has been made official, but many experts think to preserve the rivalries that make the SEC the countrys greatest conference, the league will have to go to nine games. Can you imagine nine SEC games and a conference title game? While some leagues are doing it (Pac 12) and others are planning on it (ACC) it is still not the same rigorous schedule that would face SEC teams. The conference is proud of its competitiveness and its depth; however no league is prouder of National Championships than the Southeastern Conference. Which other league would the 11 (now 13) teams be rooting for its hated rival to win a title, just so they can say SEC? It is going to be a difficult challenge for the future, but you can count on the league making sure it understands the new BCS before it locks schools into any current nine game formats, long term. Auburn coach Gene Chizik.Under the current format you would have six division games which is a must in deciding a conference champion. Outside of that you would have two crossover opponents. The issue as it stands today is how often and Alabama and a Florida would play? Try twice in twelve years with a new eight game schedule while the current schedule allows them to play four times every ten years. To find a balanced nine game schedule tradition rich games like Alabama versus Tennessee and Auburn versus Georgia could be left behind. That is a line the SEC has to be very careful with. Yes nine games makes sense, more quality football, more television money, but dont lose sight of what make the SEC the best, Tradition. We are headed to a new era in college football and maybe nine conference games will be sooner than later, but count on the SEC to find a way to preserve its legacy with games that mean so much, even when they might be playing for very little.
SEC Spring Position Analysis:
Arkansas- The offensive line gave up 28 sacks last season. They will look to improve this number and while they throw it a lot they would like it fewer than 20 this season. Tyler Wilson can help them by finding his check down sooner.Florida safety Matt Elam looks to help Florida get more turnovers.
Florida- The Gators had only 8 interceptions in 2011 after leading the league with 22 in 2010. Look for more 3-4 looks from an experienced Gator defense while getting some young guys confidence at corner. Marcus Roberson and Louchez Purifoy are two true sophomores to watch.
Mississippi State- Dan Mullen will look to re-fine his red zone offense. At Florida he led the country in touchdowns inside the red area, but scored only 55 last season with the Bulldogs. He needs to get that number up near 70 if Mississippi State is going to take the next step. The passing game inside the scoring zone must improve. The Bulldogs completed just 52 of their red zone pass attempts.
Tennessee- The Volunteers have a lot of good numbers for a 5-7 team, but they have some horrible numbers that are tough to overcome. Last week I told you about the run game and how important is was to get that on track. Defensively the Volunteers need to improve their pass rush. They were last in the SEC with 15 sacks, which is hard to believe. They finished 107th in the country in sacks.
Vanderbilt- If the Commodores want to move up from six wins to eight wins they must get better on third down. They dont have the firepower on defense like Alabama or LSU to sustain a strong effort after three and outs. Last season Vanderbilt was ninth in the league with just 34 on third down. Quarterback maturity and better use of down and distance will help Vandy in 2012.Follow me on twitter @bradyack.