On Sunday night, the SEC settled on a future football scheduling model; one that looks very similar to its present day iteration:
Each SEC team will continue to play eight conference football games per season, to include six games against division opponents and two games against non-division opponents. One of the non-division opponents will be a permanent annual opponent and the other non-division opponent will rotate each year.
The SEC decided to keep the current 6-1-1 scheduling model; the same model currently employed by the ACC. The SEC's decision to stick with an eight game conference schedule seemingly came down to two things:
1) schools that find themselves on cusp of bowl eligibility more often than not didn't want to take on another loss in conference play which could knock them out of postseason contention, and
2) objections to having an unbalanced schedule with five conference road games and only four conference home games.
One would think that with the SEC's decision to stick with an eight game schedule, that the ACC will soon follow suit. Especially in light of the one change to the SEC's scheduling model -- the introduction of a new strength-of-schedule component:
In addition, at least one opponent from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 must be scheduled by each SEC school on an annual basis beginning in 2016, with assistance from the conference office.
Interesting. Sounds similar to the ACC's hybrid scheduling model of 8+1 conference games with the Notre Dame scheduling arrangement. This new strength-of-schedule component won't affect Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina -- each of which has an annual series with an in-state ACC rival -- but will impact the other 10 programs. Most of the remaining 10 teams do a good job of finding at least one power conference team to schedule every year with few exceptions, though this could open up a few more scheduling possibilities for Boston College.
With the Big 12 and Pac-12 at and the Big Ten moving towards a nine-game conference schedule, the ACC / Notre Dame would be the most logical scheduling partners for SEC programs to satisfy this new strength-of-schedule component. Though one can't think that Boston College, a school that hasn't scheduled a home-and-home with an SEC opponent in three decades, and one that hasn't faced eight of 14 SEC schools in the modern era, will be at the top of the calling lists for SEC athletic directors.
Still, there are a number of schools that will be looking for additional non-conference games in 2016 and beyond, including Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State, which currently don't have any non-conference scheduling obligations with major conference programs scheduled for 2016 and beyond. Boston College could be the beneficiary of this new scheduling model now that it's likely the ACC will likely follow suit with the current eight game, 6+1+1 schedule format.