The Southeastern Conference Spring Meeting wrapped up a month ago in Destin, Fla., without a long-term scheduling format but with the promise that a schedule for the 2014 season was near completion.
That schedule still isn’t finished, but LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva said Thursday he has been assured of one thing: The Tigers won’t be playing Georgia or South Carolina.
“I’m shocked the schedule isn’t out yet,” he said. “When we left Destin, they told us a few schools had to move some games. We weren’t one of those.
“It sounded relatively quick and easy, but it isn’t done yet. But there will be no Georgia or South Carolina.”
There will be a game in 2014 for LSU at Florida, the Gators continuing to be the Tigers’ permanent opponent out of the SEC East unless the conference changes that part of the scheduling format.
As for the other game out of the East, with Georgia and South Carolina off the board the Tigers’ potential opponents are Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Of those, only Vanderbilt posted a winning record in 2012, going 9-4.
LSU hosted South Carolina in 2012 and will visit Georgia on Sept. 28. The Gamecocks, Bulldogs and Gators have been the SEC East powers in recent years, combining to reach the past five SEC championship games.
Alleva and LSU coach Les Miles have lobbied the SEC membership do away with the current 6-1-1 schedule format. It calls for each team to play a permanent opponent from the opposite division, one rotating opponent from the opposite division and all six teams within its division — in the Tigers’ case the SEC West.
They cite a competitive imbalance, especially this season when LSU is playing Florida (on Oct. 12 in Tiger Stadium) and Georgia, teams that shared first place in the SEC East last season with a combined 14-2 record. Alabama, meanwhile, plays permanent opponent Tennessee and Kentucky, which went a combined 1-15 in 2012.
The SEC has vowed to look at a variety of scheduling formats going forward, including both eight- and nine-game conference schedules.
Although SEC coaches voted 13-1 in Destin against a nine-game schedule — Alabama’s Nick Saban the dissenting vote — Alleva said he could support nine games if it did not include a permanent opponent.
Another scheduling piece still to be completed is the contract that will have LSU face Wisconsin in a pair of neutral-site games. The schools have agreed to open the 2014 season against each other at Reliant Stadium in Houston, but Alleva said they still have to decide which year they would face each other at the Green Bay Packers’ iconic Lambeau Field.
“It’s going to happen,” Alleva said of the two-game series.
LSU opens the 2013 season nine weeks from Saturday when the Tigers take on TCU in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Aug 31.