Georgia and South Carolina have played every year since 1992, when the latter joined the SEC. Before that, the two border rivals separated by about 160 miles had played almost every year since 1958. So the natural assumption, provided the new SEC schedule moves to nine games, has been that the Bulldogs and Gamecocks would be matched as annual opponents.

But that may not be so.

South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner, in discussing the schedule on Monday, first emphasized that the three annual opponents haven’t been finalized: “We’ve talked about different scenarios. But it never was: This is etched in stone.” (Nor is the decision to go to nine games, he added.) If it is a nine-game schedule, with a format where each school would have three annual opponents and rotate the rest, the perception has been that South Carolina would want Georgia as one of them.

Tanner, however, said that isn’t something South Carolina has asked.

“We’re one of those schools that, unlike Alabama–Auburn, unlike a couple others, we feel like we have two or three schools that are rivals, but it’s not a Clemson-South Carolina rivalry,” Tanner said. “Certainly we have our rivals, but there will be others in the league where if you rated the top rivalries we wouldn’t be listed, probably, among the top four or five.”

Last year at SEC spring meetings, each school was given the three annual opponents that would tentatively be theirs in a nine-game schedule. A few of the annual opponents have gradually leaked out: Nick Saban last week told that Alabama’s three annual opponents would be Auburn, LSU and Tennessee. LSU’s Brian Kelly told ESPN on Monday that his team’s three opponents would be Alabama, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. And Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork told The Athletic last month that the Aggies’ three annuals would be Texas, LSU and Mississippi State.

On Georgia’s end, Auburn and Florida have long been known as protected annual games, while South Carolina was assumed because the Gamecocks would want to keep Georgia. But that has turned out not to be the case: Kentucky is more likely to be Georgia’s third opponent, multiple sources within the league said, and while that’s not as physically close (Lexington and Athens are about a six-hour drive), the two schools have played 76 times, almost continuously since 1939.