Kirby Smart ‘not gonna whine and cry’ about new SEC scheduling model
ATHENS — Kirby Smart loves Georgia football traditions as much as anyone, but the Bulldogs head coach isn’t fretting pending changes to the schedule.
The SEC will go to a new schedule model in 2024 with the additions of Texas and Oklahoma to the league.
A 3 + 6 schedule model appears to be the most likely schedule model — three annual league opponents, six rotating — for a division-less league.
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The most popular projection has Georgia playing Florida, Kentucky and Auburn annually, arguably one of the tougher draws.
Smart, however, doesn’t have any reaction to the changes ahead.
“I have no thoughts on my permanent opponents, it’s not my job to pick them,” Smart told a crowd in Macon last week. “I’m not going to whine and cry. I’ll take whoever they give us and try to beat them. I think that’s the best way to handle it.”
Alabama coach Nick Saban created quite a stir when he complained about projections that the Tide would play LSU, Tennessee and Auburn as its three annual opponents.
“I’ve always been an advocate for playing more [conference] games,” Saban told Sports Illustrated. “But if you play more games, I think you have to get the three fixed [opponents] right. They’re giving us Tennessee, Auburn and LSU. I don’t know how they come to that [decision].”
Smart has been a proponent of a scheduling model that would enable his players to see more of the SEC stadiums, and rotating six league opponents annually would certainly do that.
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“The best thing about it is they’ll rotate, so you’ll get to rotate (and play) everyone in the conference at a faster rate,” Smart said.
“Everyone talks about us and (Texas) A&M. We haven’t been to A&M the whole time they’ve been in the conference. You go to nine (league games), you turn it over faster.”
A look at how SI.com’s Ross Dellenger projects the SEC’s three-game pods in the likelihood of a three-game schedule:
- Missouri: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Vanderbilt
- Arkansas: Missouri, Texas, Ole Miss
- Texas A&M: LSU, Texas, Mississippi State
- Texas: Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Arkansas
- Oklahoma: Texas, Missouri, Florida
- LSU: Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Alabama
- Ole Miss: Mississippi State, LSU, Arkansas
- Mississippi State: Ole Miss, Kentucky, Texas A&M
- Alabama: Auburn, Tennessee, LSU
- Auburn: Alabama, Georgia, Vanderbilt
- Vanderbilt: Tennessee, Auburn, Missouri
- Tennessee: Vanderbilt, Alabama, South Carolina
- Kentucky: Mississippi State, South Carolina, Georgia
- Georgia: Auburn, Florida, Kentucky
- Florida: Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma
- South Carolina: Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky