Les Miles is not going to get what he wants out of the SEC scheduling gods, conference President (and Florida Chancellor) Dr Bernie Machen has revealed in a press conference.

Future SEC schedules would adopt a 6-1-1 schedule, that would see six divisional rivals, one rotating rival, and one permanent rival. The reason? Machen and his fellow Chancellors thought it was important to keep 100-year, cross-conference rivalries such as Alabama vs Tennessee and Georgia vs Auburn as well as the 41-year old rivalry of Florida and LSU.

“I’m Florida. We think that cross-division rivalries are really important and we particularly cherish the LSU rivalry. I think it’s been really great for both of our schools. We would be in a position to maintain that relationship,” Machen said, adding that most coaches and athletic directors were happy with the 6-1-1 format.

Les Miles has been heavily against the 6-1-1 schedule – mainly because he’s furious about Mississippi State’s more-than-fair rivalry set-up with Kentucky. He didn’t mention Arkansas’ draw with South Carolina, which is also certain to have annoyed Mssrs Smith and Spurrier. He also ignored Ole Miss’ match-up with on-the-rise Vanderbilt, and didn’t stand up for Tennessee, which gets to play Alabama year in, year out (they haven’t won The Third Saturday in October since 2006).

Georgia’s Mark Richt has been vocally pro-6-1-1: “For me, 6-1-1 makes the most sense. Some people think the rivalry games are really important. With 6-2, you lose Georgia-Auburn. My sentiment, to be real clear, is we should play Auburn.”

Strangely though, Florida’s coach Will Muschamp (although it has to be said Machen’s employee) is happy staying with LSU. He told the Orlando Sentinel: “I like the every year playing LSU. I think that’s good. I think that’s good for the league,” he said. “It’s two national programs with the recent success we’ve both had. As far as how they rotate the other Western Division opponent, that’s up to (commissioner) Mike Slive and our athletic directors. I’m just in favor of still playing eight as far as SEC games.”

Machen added that he expected the 6-1-1 to be finalized on Friday, when the voting takes place.

Frankly, we can’t wait for a solution.

BOTTOM LINE: It must be noted that the LSU-Florida games are generally one of the best of the SEC schedule in terms of atmosphere, national interest, and quality of game. USC-Arkansas year in, year out – the way both sides are recruiting at the moment – is going to be some fun too. Machen and the rest of his chancellors have done well on this one.

 

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