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March 1, 2012

The SEC Schedule: Is 8 or 9 Games the Real Question?

The ADs didn't make any decisions. After all the debate, in the media and on the Internet, the ADs didn't make any decisions. While it seems there are some likely scenarios, there is one I keep thinking about. One that isn't some namby-pamby 'ohh, we don't want to play such tough schedules' solution (I'm talking to you Scott Stricklin).

So, what will happen in the SEC? Strictly on votes, It'll be very close. There are four schools that will go to 9 games in a heart beat, just to keep the two rivalry games (UGA, Alabama, UT and Auburn).  There are at least four schools that are absolutely dead set against any game that makes their football season harder (Mississippi State, Vandy, Kentucky and Ole Miss). That leaves six schools that will end up casting the deciding votes. Of those schools, I'd wager at least two of them (LSU and South Carolina) are ok with 9 game schedules, as long as they could be convinced there is a strong enough revenue bump. So where do Arkansas, Texas A&M, Missouri and Florida fall?

The other issue is figuring out what to do about revenue inequities over half the schools hosting five home conference games and half only hosting four. I am sure there are some accounting guys smart enough to figure that out.

Two other things that are rolling around in my head: 1) Will we see more expansion/what will further expansion do? 2) What if the current divisions are remade?

I don't know about that first question. I don't think the SEC will go any further until it becomes obvious there is a looming 'super conference' showdown. If they would do so in a year, why not just do it now and save some headaches.

As for the second? I can see scenarios that move Missouri and another team from the East to the West, with the two Alabama schools moving East. The most obvious choice of that East team would be Kentucky, as they aren't likely to care if they get routinely pummeled by Auburn, LSU, Alabama play a slightly different set of teams every year in football. I don't think it'll be Vanderbilt, as they care about having a shot at finally beating Tennessee.

As far as other schools that might be on the list? How about Georgia or Florida? I don't see what moving Georgia over would do to help the conundrum of The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. But then there is Florida. Florida could move over. Georgia-Florida would have to be kept, but that is easier to do than keeping two or more 'permanent' rivalries.  The only sticking point there would be the Florida-Tennessee game, but my guess is Foley wouldn't mind trading that for keeping LSU on the schedule.

PWD thinks Missouri doesn't care as long as they get Arkansas and TAMU every year, something their AD has hinted at. This scenario also makes that happen.  We go to 9 games, Georgia-Auburn, Alabama-Tennessee, Alabama-Auburn happen because they are divisional games. Find a way for Georgia-Florida to happen. Mizzu-Arkansas would have a new border war game. Mizzu-TAMU would have the 'Big 12 Championship' game. LSU-Florida would have to travel to each other's stadium every other year.

Am I the only one that thinks this is a possibility?

PS. There is an added bonus of South Carolina fans decrying the loss of their 'traditional' rivalry with Florida.


Anonymous said...

Well, if we go to 9 games, there's no need to shuffle the divisions.

And if you shuffle the divisions, there's no need for that 9th game.

So to me, the end game is one or the other, but not both.

Of course, there's the other option that Greg McGarity hinted at - you don't do a home/home w/the rotating West team.

In other words, we'd play at Miss in 2011, but then play home against, say, LSU in 2012.

Not sure the AD's will buy that one, so I think it come down to either (a) go to 9 games or (b) shuffle divisions.

Dawgaholic said...

Why would the ADs not buy the plan suggested by McGarity?? You still play each of the other 6 teams once on the road and once at home every 12 years. Something like this should have been done from the start. If we went to nine games and alternated like this, we would play each team once every 3 years.

Tyler Dawgden said...

Because the SEC is interested in more money. More SEC games = more SEC money from the networks.

I think that has to mean 9 games or more games that offers more compelling matchups than Ole Miss vs. Vandy.

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