DESTIN, Fla. — With the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M, the Southeastern Conference is tweaking its football and basketball schedules.
Football coaches are having a tougher time deciding on what changes to make than their basketball counterparts.
"The consensus is that there's not the right answer right now that suits everyone," Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen said.
Mullen and the 13 other league coaches are debating whether to play an eight- or nine-game conference schedule and whether to maintain cross-division rivals like Alabama-Tennessee, Auburn-Georgia and LSU-Florida. It's not an easy decision considering each school has different allegiances.
Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia all want to continue their longtime rivalries. LSU, meanwhile, would prefer to dump its annual game against Florida in favor of playing other Eastern Division teams like Vanderbilt and Kentucky more often.
"It's not because I'm opposed to playing Florida," LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said. "I just think it creates a competitive inequity in the whole league. In my opinion, people are voting for their own self-interests, not what's best for the whole league."
Coaches presented their thoughts and concerns to athletics directors Wednesday. The ADs will make a recommendation to school presidents and chancellors Friday before the conference settles on a format for future schedules.
Moving to a nine-game schedule is a long shot at best. Florida, Georgia and South Carolina already have non-conference games against in-state rivals, so adding a ninth league game would make daunting schedules even more difficult.
The most likely scenario appears to be keeping things status quo, with an eight-game conference slate that includes one designated rival from the opposite division and a rotating game against the other six teams.
"Mississippi State is going to play Kentucky every year," LSU Coach Les Miles said. "I think that's disproportionate. I'm not for that. I'm not for Auburn playing Georgia every year. Again, it's disproportionate. I think there should be an opportunity to see a greater segment of the conference. I think the opportunity to rotate two games as opposed to one game, not annually picking an arbitrary criteria to determine the champion."
Basketball coaches had fewer problems Wednesday.
They proposed an 18-game league schedule that would keep all 14 teams together instead of moving back to divisions. Teams would play everyone at least once (13 games) and have one annual home-and-home series with a designated rival. Those rivalries are Kentucky-Florida, Tennessee-Vanderbilt, Georgia-South Carolina, Alabama-Auburn, Mississippi-Mississippi State, Arkansas-Missouri and LSU-Texas A&M.
The remaining four games each season would be filled by the other 12 teams on a rotating basis. The format, along with changes to the postseason tournament, likely will be approved Friday.