Along with Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Gus Malzahn is advocating for nine conference games instead of the traditional eight, according to a report by CBS Sports that surfaced at SEC Media Days on Thursday.
The SEC has long played eight conference games a season since the addition of South Carolina and Arkansas to the league in 1992, bringing the league from 10 teams to 12. The league currently sits at 14 teams with the later addition of Missouri and Texas A&M.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told CBS that the SEC preferred the "6-1-1" eight game model during a 2014 review of scheduling. With the current model, teams play each opponent within their division, a rotating cross-division opponent and a permanent cross-division rival.
CBS also writes that the league mandates that all teams play one nonconference Power 5 team.
The report explains that the SEC has played in 11 out of the last 12 national title games, winning a total of nine.
Regarding the current "6-1-1" model, I kind of went a 180," Malzahn tells CBS. "I think (the addition of a ninth game) it's the best for us moving forward. I think it would put more equity as far as strength in the conference."
The report speculates that Alabama's support of a ninth conference game may have influenced Malzahn's decision. Malzahn told CBS that he believes nine conference games will even out the league scheduling wise.
The SEC has played in 11 out of the last 12 national title games, winning a total of nine. The Tigers will open the season playing Washington at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sept. 1.
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