Steve Spurrier suggests Alabama-Tennessee rivalry be played as non-conference game (report)

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By Andrew Gribble |

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama -- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has a compromise for those in favor of expanding the SEC schedule to nine games and maintaining tradition-rich cross-divisional rivalries and those who would prefer to stick with eight games and eliminate the annual grudge matches.

In an interview Thursday with Sporting News, Spurrier, who would prefer to stick with an eight-game conference schedule, said he broached the idea at last week's SEC spring meetings of making an annual game such as Tennessee-Alabama count as a non-conference game. Spurrier admitted that his idea didn't get very far.

"Nick Saban wants nine games, well he can have nine and be happy," Spurrier told Sporting News. "Yep, nine games against conference opponents — but one of them won’t count, that’s all."

To accomplish this, the SEC would have to go away from its current 6-1-1 format, which features six games against divisional opponents, one game against a permanent cross-divisional opponent and one rotating game against a cross-divisional opponent. This will be the kind of schedule the SEC uses through 2015, but it's unclear how it will proceed in the future.

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