The Southeastern Conference announced Sunday afternoon that it would be sticking to eight league games during the football season. Six of those games will remain inside the division and one contest played against a constant opponent from the opposing division.
For Mississippi State it means the Bulldogs will continue to play Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU and Ole Miss each season inside the Western Division. In addition MSU will keep playing Kentucky and another East opponent that will rotate each season.
What will change in 2016 is that at least one non-conference opponent will have to come from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 conference on an annual basis. The schools will be allowed to schedule their own opponents in this matter with assistance from the SEC office.
The Bulldogs schedule this fall would not meet those requirements with non-conference tilts against Southern Miss, UAB, South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin.
“This has been a thoughtful and deliberative process that has resulted in maintaining the current format and adds a provision that will bolster our collective annual non-conference schedule,” said SEC commissioner Mike Slive in a statement. “Critical to maintaining this format is the non-conference opponent factor which gives us the added strength-of-schedule we were seeking while allowing continued scheduling flexibility for institutional preferences, and acknowledges that many of our institutions already play these opponents.
“The concept of strength-of-schedule is based on an entire 12-game schedule, a combination of both conference games together with non-conference games. Given the strength of our conference schedule supplemented by at least one major non-conference game, our teams will boast of a strong resume’ of opponents each and every year.”
From 2006 through 2015, SEC schools have had 132 football games scheduled against opponents from those BCS divisions.
The following is a list of SEC crossover divisional pairings:
• 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)