SEC sticking with 8-game league schedule

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- The Southeastern Conference has decided to stick with its current football scheduling format of eight league games and a permanent non-division rival.

The conference's presidents and chancellors approved the schedule format Sunday at a special meeting in Atlanta.

The one change to the SEC's schedule format will affect nonconference scheduling. Starting in 2016, all SEC teams will be required to play at least one game against a team from one of the other Big 5 conferences. But even that rule shouldn't change much. Every SEC school routinely plays at least one team from those conferences per season.

The SEC had been considering adding a ninth conference game and doing away with permanent inter-division opponents such as Alabama-Tennessee and LSU-Florida.

The University of Tennessee released the following statement from Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart regarding the SEC's future scheduling format announcement Sunday evening:

"The announcement from our conference office regarding future football scheduling assures that the Tennessee-Alabama game, one of college football's most historic rivalries, will continue on an annual basis moving forward. Chancellor Cheek and I have strongly and consistently advocated that this rivalry be preserved regardless of any other outcomes resulting from conversations about football scheduling."

The permanent non-division opponents are as listed below:

• Alabama (west) vs. Tennessee (east)
• Arkansas (west) vs. Missouri (east)
• Auburn (west) vs. Georgia (east)
• LSU (west) vs. Florida (east)
• Ole Miss (west) vs. Vanderbilt (east)
• Mississippi State (west) vs. Kentucky (east)
• Texas A&M (west) vs. South Carolina (east)


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