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Columbia Missourian

Missouri football team will play eight-game SEC schedule

By Andrew Wagaman
November 8, 2011 | 8:39 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The Missouri football team will play an eight-game conference schedule when it begins playing in the Southeastern Conference.

The SEC transition team will submit possible schedule options for all sports to the conference's athletic directors potentially in the next week, transition chairman Larry Templeton said in a phone interview. He would not comment on what those possible formats are but specified the number of conference games each football team will play.

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"I can tell you that Missouri will play eight conference football games — four at home, four on the road," Templeton said. "In terms of who those opponents are at home and on the road have not been determined yet."

The SEC currently plays an eight-game conference schedule. However, there had been reports that with the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M, the schedule would expand to nine games.

In the current 12-team format, SEC teams play the five other teams in their division, an annual game against a cross-division opponent and a game against rotating cross-division teams.

Missouri, which will be in the eastern division, will play against Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt every year. The question is whether the SEC will maintain the annual game against a cross-divisional opponent or have teams play two games against rotating opponents each year.

If the conference continued playing an annual cross-division game (Missouri would most likely face Texas A&M or Arkansas), the Tigers would host cross-division teams such as Alabama and LSU only once every 12 years.

Maintaining the eight-game conference schedule means Missouri could once again schedule for non-conference opponents, one potentially being a rivalry game against Kansas. After a meeting on Oct. 21, the UM System Board of Curators announced a directive that Missouri should explore the possibility of a neutral site football game against a "traditional rival."

The SEC transition team is made up of Templeton and SEC associate commissioners Mark Womack, Mark Whitworth and Greg Sankey.  Templeton said their short-term "mission" is to give the SEC athletic directors the different schedule options.

"We intend to have them ready in the next week or so," he said.