SEC Spring Meetings: What We Learned During Day 1

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterMay 29, 2012

The SEC Spring Meeting in Destin, Fla., has emerged as a platform for leaders of the SEC to discuss and agree upon administrative changes that the conference will make and plan to make in the future.

The 2012 edition has the chance to become one of the most notable weeks in SEC history.

With conference expansion, future scheduling, television networks and the format for a four-team playoff all on the table, there was plenty to discuss at the Sandestin Hilton.

What did we learn during Day 1?


6-1-1 Schedule Coming

Brett McMurphy of reported that the SEC will announce a 6-1-1 scheduling format on Friday. That format will include one permanent cross-division rivalry and one rotating cross-division game. That rotating game will be single games rather than home-and-home series.

That's the right format.

The foundation of the SEC is its tradition, and abandoning the permanent cross-division rivalry would force Auburn vs. Georgia and Tennessee vs. Alabama to disappear on an annual basis. By going through the opposite division one by one, fans will still get to see teams from the other division almost as often as they do now.


Les Miles Thinks That the Big 12 is Expanding

Did LSU head coach Les Miles let the Big 12 cat out of the bag? Or, dare I say, "hat?"

Speaking to reporters at the SEC Spring Meetings, Miles dropped some clues on his perception of recent Big 12 expansion rumors.

LSU's Les Miles: "As we all know Big 12 will add teams, then we'll all be playing (conference) championship games"

— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyCBS) May 29, 2012

Actually, we didn't know that. It's been rumored that the Big 12 is flirting with several teams, including Florida State, Notre Dame and Clemson; but no expansion plans have been confirmed on any of those fronts.


Steve Spurrier Wants an Eight-Team Playoff

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is never at a loss for words. He made his desire for an eight-team playoff known—again—on Tuesday. 

Spurrier on a college football playoff: "We should do like President Obama said and find 8 teams and play."…

— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) May 29, 2012

I've already explained my opposition to the eight-team format. The national championship should go to the team that earns it throughout the entire season, not just during the postseason. Never during the BCS era have more than four teams had a legitimate gripe at the national championship.

If we start granting access over rewarding merit, the best three-month season in sports will be marginalized. 


Nick Saban Isn't a Fan of Spurrier's Division Championship Proposal

Spurrier came to the Spring Meetings armed with a proposal that would reward division titles to teams that have the best division record rather than SEC record. Alabama head coach Nick Saban has already come out in opposition to the proposal, which has been backed by Miles and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.

Just for good measure, Saban reiterated his stance on Tuesday.

Saban on counting only SEC division games: "Then we’re really not an SEC. Then we’re an East and a West so why even play the games?"

— Jon Solomon (@jonsol) May 29, 2012

Raise your hand if you want to be the one that tells ESPN and CBS that games like LSU vs. Florida, Auburn vs. Georgia and Alabama vs. Tennessee are meaningless save for bragging rights (put your hand down, no you don't).


Miles Favors a Four-Team Playoff Including the Top 4 Teams

Miles has already stated that he wants a four-team playoff to be determined by the top four teams rather than have automatic bids for conference champions. Miles' LSU team became the poster-child of the automatic bid movement after the Tigers were beat by Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game, even though they beat Alabama earlier in the season.

Miles took it a step further, saying that his team would have won the national championship in 2011 if bids for a playoff were reserved for conference champions.

I told Miles, if conf champs only were in play last year, #LSU would have won NCG. Miles: "that's correct." #OKState

— Matt Hayes(@Matt_HayesSN) May 29, 2012

No comment from Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy.


Missouri and Arkansas Will be Cross-Division Rivals

Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel told reporters that the new SEC schedule format will include Missouri and Arkansas as cross-division rivals.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel says he's been told the Tigers' permanent rival will be Arkansas. Ark. has been w/ South Carolina.

— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) May 29, 2012

South Carolina had been paired with Arkansas since the two joined the SEC in 1992, and Missouri is playing Texas A&M as its cross-division opponent in 2012. This move makes a ton of sense for both teams based on the shared border and the fact that Arkansas needs a No. 1 rival that is shared between the two parties.