Blog Entry

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:22 pm

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Mike Slive and the SEC have stated (on multiple occasions) that the league's 2012 schedule is a stopgap solution before more permanent answers to the questions of cross-divisional rivalries and rotations are established in 2013. But according to conference official Larry Templeton, there's one thing that won't change in the schedule between 2012 and 2013: the number of games in it.

Templeton, chair of the SEC's transition team, confirmed to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at Missouri Monday that the conference will not be considering moving to a nine-game schedule in 2013 ... or ever.

"We're not going to nine," he said. "The competitiveness in our league week-to-week is just too strong. It would be an easier scheduling format, but I don't think it would be fair to our players or our coaches."

In November, South Carolina president Harris Pastides said the league planned to move to a nine-game slate, but that claim was quickly shot down by the league and Slive himself, who said in December he didn't "sense any interest" from member schools in adding an additional league game.

Assuming the SEC sticks with Templeton's assertion that a nine-game schedule is off the table, the league faces a difficult catch-22. With six of the eight games already guaranteed to be divisional games (thanks to the 14-team expansion and seven teams in each division), only two will be devoted to cross-divisional contests. Make one of those a permanent cross-divisional rival and rotate through home-and-home series in the last remaining slot, and non-rival teams in opposite divisions will play each other just twice in a span of 12 years. Give both slots over to rotations, and suddenly some the bedrock rivalries of the league -- Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee, to name the two most prominent -- are no longer annual affairs.

"That is a huge question that has not been answered ... It will be an interesting debate," Templeton said. "I think anything else is on the table for discussion. We're going to have to make some tough decisions. Are we going to stay with the permanent opponent, and then how are we going to rotate that one other game?"

One possible solution would be for some teams (like the Tide and Vols, or Tigers and Bulldogs) to keep their permanent cross-division rival while the others have both their East-West games rotate. But that could prove unnecessarily complicated, and would still force those teams with permanent rivals to see opposite-division teams exceedingly rarely. 

Of course, there are some positives to sticking with an eight-game schedule; teams with annual nonconference rivalries like South Carolina (with Clemson) or Florida (with Florida State) will find it much easier to maintain those with four non-league games available, and the capacity to schedule an extra "paycheck game" will greatly aid the league's lower-rung teams in reaching bowl eligibility. 

But already, many SEC fans would say the conference's traditional powers -- say, Alabama and Florida, or LSU and Georgia, or old rivals Auburn and Tennessee -- don't play often enough. The most likely outcome of an eight-game schedule is that games between those teams would become even more scarce. Expansion may boost the league's bottom line if its forthcoming post-14-team TV negotiations prove fruitful, but it will still come at a price, and games like this past two season's showdowns between the Tide and Gators look like they'll going to be that price.

HT: Get the Picture. 

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Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: January 18, 2012 9:27 pm

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

Sticking with an eight game league schedule is good for college football as a whole. If the SEC went to nine games, we would miss out on great non-conference games like this past season's LSU-Oregon, Alabama-Penn State & UGA-Boise. Instead, each SEC team would probabaly have three less than competitive games. That would mean bye-bye to the Chick-fil-A and Cowboys Classic that start the season.However, I don't like playing opposite division opponents only twice every 12 years. We need some math majors to come up with some good formulas.

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: January 18, 2012 6:54 pm

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

Games too tough - what a load!  What it does say is that we will continue to schedule 4 creampuffs/year, then boast that our league is so much better that we have to schedule those creampuffs.  Its time to stop overevaluating teams that are pretty much middle of the road teams.  The "cream" of the SEC is Alabama (recently after a long hiatus) and LSU.  Other teams have had good years (Georgia, Arkansas, Florida, Arburn) but not consistent enough to be call elite teams in this conference at this time, perhaps Florida could at least make an argument.  The rest of the teams right now are average to crappy.  The unbalance home/away will work itself out every other year (See Pac 12), but just playing 8 games will guarantee some team like this year's Georgia will be slated as very good, but in reality they were just very good in their weak division.

Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: January 18, 2012 6:09 pm

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

I still do not understand why the SEC thought it necessary to go to 14 teams in the first place.  Well, I guess I do but do not like to admit that this was all over money.  That is exactly why the conference will not go to a 9 game conference schedule; money.  Instead of having 7 conference teams host conference games, they can have 14 conference teams host nonconference games and make more money that way.  It is sad that this is what it has come to. 

Since: Jun 14, 2008
Posted on: January 18, 2012 4:07 pm

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

I LOVE IT!  Mega conferences already whining about losing out on traditional rivalries.  Boo Hoo.  Keep raiding and stealing from the other conferences.  Odd how everyone complains about the Big East, but yet it is the first conference that the conferences raid teams from and the first conference to go to when looking for a new head coach.  I think my answer, albeit, the sacrifice of tv dollars for the money grubbing confernce officials will take a hit is 9-team regional conferences. (NO Confernce Championship games for anyone).  In a 9 team regional conference, travel expenses are naturally lower, you play 8 conference games, (4 home/4 away), and you end up with a true conference champion every year.  That leaves 4 games to maintain traditional rivalries that would have otherwise been lost, and the ability to schedule cross confernce games on a yearly basis.  Imagine weekends where one conference battles another conference one-to-one, head to head, mono y mono.  Big9 - ACC9 or SW9 - Big East9 or Pac9 - Mid9.  Also, because there would be no confernce championships, it would allow for an additional playoffs/bowl games to remain.

Since: Dec 4, 2010
Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:28 pm

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

Whatever.  The SEC is not going to nine games, just as any other conference should not, simply because there would be (1) an inequity in home/away games.  With nine conf. games obviously a team would have 5H/4A or 5A/4H.  (2) member schools don't want to give up a home game $ vs a cupcake team and thus remain on a 8 Home/ 4 Away schedule (4 & 4 in conf.).  Nothing to do do w/ the week-to-week 'rigors' of SEC competition. Please.

Since: Mar 7, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:05 pm

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

vanger, it's funny how you ignore Texas beating Arkansas in 2008, 52-10. We should of had them in 2009, but they bailed on that game to play a&m. You failed to notice the lack of FCS teams in the UT schedules. BYU was also ranked ahead of PSU in the Final AP and Coaches Poll for 2011.<br />

Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: January 18, 2012 11:35 am

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

Speaking solely as a BAMA fan, I do not think I could see life without playing Tennessee every year...I've never known anything else. Do the Big LEast math and make one of those new guys go to the SEC East - San Diego St can travel all the way across the country, those jokers (Mizzou / Teaxas A&M) can travel too as far as I am concerned.

Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: January 18, 2012 9:51 am

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

Why not do both?  On odd number years do permanent rival plus one rotating.  On even number years do two rotating.  Over the course of four years, you would play your crossover rival home and home and each team in the other division once. 

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: January 18, 2012 9:33 am

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

The SEC has a real mess on it's hands.  They have expanded to 14 teams.  They now face a huge delema.  I know that a lot of Tennessee fans are not going to lose sleep over seeing Mississippi come visiting once every 12 years, but what about LSU and Auburn?  Some SEC teams play a difficult non-con schedule.  Others play a soft one.  The non-con schedule is not the real question here.  The real question is that of bowl money.  Minor bowl money.  Last year, Tennessee won 5 games, four of which were home non-con games.  Tennessee admittedly changed their schedule to soften it up, allowing them a better shot at making a bowl appearance.  If the number of bowls were reduced, you would not see the SEC having this problem.  6-6 teams that schedule and win 4 soft non-con games do not deserve to be in bowls to begin with.  Get rid of some of the meaningless bowl games, and you get rid of a lot of scheduling roblems.

Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2012 3:23 am

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

When Texas plays a Penn State or even Oregon OOC, we'll take you seriously. Until then you're just another in the long string of ignorant trolls.

    This is a fair statement and you forgot Boise State, but you are basing this claim solely on a few teams, not all of the sec schedules like this and your claim about Texas and Okle State is again only based on a few teams.  Neither represent the majority in the conference.  And it changes from year to year as this year's game between ATM and Arky proves:  good game for ATM's resume, but a bad game for Arky's resume as ATM was an utter disappointment to those who thought they were a top team.  Incidentally, comparing OOCs to the B12 or the PAC would be a little lopsided since they both only play 3 OOCs, wouldn't it?  I mean they had one more IC game instead of an FCS cupcake, so why would they also schedule a tough OOC game? 
Florida plays FSU every year as their toughest OOC game and most years since the late 90s they have been above average at best.  South Carolina plays Clemson every year as their toughest OOC and some years like this year it's a good game, but many years it's not really a good game for them as Clemson is usually about the same as FSU.  Not to mention that WVU's whupping of Clemson this year really makes the toughness of the ACC questionable as a whole since the BEast was ranked higher than the ACC this year.  So. I would say that both the PAC and B12's extra IC game matches up to the toughest OOC that Florida or SC had this year and even Bama's game vs. PSU for the most part and LSU's game vs. WVU.  You can't really compare them apples to apples because of the disparity in IC games, but you can approximate.  I would say an extra game vs. the likes of Oklahoma, KSU, and Baylor this year equalled those games vs. FSU, Clemson, and PSU, wouldn't you?  So then you'd have to compare the remaining OOC games vs. the 3 OOC games for the B12. 

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