The SEC is currently holding its annual meetings in Destin, FL. Today the conference announced the new scheduling format for basketball. This model will begin in 2015-16 and continue indefinitely. The new model will feature three "permanent" opponents that teams will play home-and-home each season, two rotating home-and-home opponents, with the remainder of the teams playing each other once per season. The total number of conference games will remain 18. The conference also announced the full schedule will be released in August.
Alabama's three permanent opponents will be Auburn, Mississippi State and LSU. In years past, this would be a disappointment from a schedule strength standpoint. However, all three teams appear to be trending upward with the hires of Ben Howland at Mississippi State, Bruce Pearl at Auburn, and the recent resurgence of LSU under Johnny Jones. From a recruiting standpoint, the games with both Auburn and Mississippi State will be incredibly important as all three programs recruit the same region and offer many of the same recruits.
One criticism: Arkansas and Kentucky both have proud basketball traditions with the two most sympathetic basketball fanbases in the football-centric conference. Those two programs should play each other twice each season. A missed opportunity, in my opinion.
Here are the permanent opponents for the other conference teams:
Arkansas - Missouri, Texas A&M, LSU
Auburn - Alabama, Ole Miss, Georgia
Florida - Kentucky, Georgia, Vanderbilt
Georgia - South Carolina, Florida, Auburn
Kentucky - Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
LSU - Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas
Ole Miss - Mississippi State, Auburn, Missouri
Mississippi State - Ole Miss, Alabama, South Carolina
Missouri - Arkansas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss
South Carolina - Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi State
Tennessee - Vanderbilt, Kentucky, South Carolina
Texas A&M - LSU, Arkansas, Missouri
Vanderbilt - Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida