Southeastern Conference head coaches on Wednesday voted 13-1 to maintain a schedule that calls for eight conference games. The only coach voting for nine-conference game schedule was Alabama's Nick Saban.
But despite being overwhelmingly approved and having a rotation set for the next 13 years, many believe the launching of the SEC Network means it is just a matter of time before a nine-game conference schedule goes into effect.
"I think we'll end up moving to nine (conference) games eventually," Florida coach Will Muschamp told ESPN saying that the revenue generated by the SEC Network eventually will dictate moving to a nine game schedule.
While scheduling attractive nonconference games is important, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier believes the financial reward of playing nine conference games probably would be too lucrative for the league to pass up.
"Anything can happen when television starts telling you what to do," Spurrier said. "But my thought is this: Would television people rather televise Texas-Texas A&M or Texas A&M-Kentucky? The conference games are supposed to be bigger. They're not necessarily bigger than some rivalry games. It's important to play your conference opponents. It's important to play other people out of conference, too."
Athletic directors also are of the belief that the league will end up scheduling nine conference games. New Alabama athletic director Bill Battle and his Tennessee counterpart Dave Hart envision such scheduling.
Traditions and rivalries come into play, and one SEC school in particular, LSU is a vocal proponent to doing away with permanent cross-divisional opponents.
"So tradition is giving way, hopefully, to a fairer and right way to pick a champion," LSU coach Les Miles said.