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: Apr 28, 2010
Posted on: January 17, 2012 7:57 pm

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

No offense meant but this discussion that the SEC plays cupcakes only is ridiculous.   In BCS NC games the SEC has never loss except to another SEC team (8-0-1).   In the BCS years Tenn, LSU, UF, Auburn and Alabama have won NC's.   Only one other conference even has two.    All conferences have cupcakes and most play 9 conference games but the SEC only plays 8.    However those eight are more difficult to win against than anything the rest of the conferences schedule.    In fact most SEC teams consider a game against the Big 10, PAC 12 or Big 12 to be a cupcake.

Since: Apr 28, 2010
Posted on: January 17, 2012 7:48 pm

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

These so called Traditional Rivalries are often the worse of rivalries.    As an Alabama fan I would like to end the Alabama-Tennessee and Alabama-Auburn rivalries since the fan bases hate each other and the schools do everything in the world to unjustly downgrade each other.     I might add that the Auburn-Georgia Rivalry is a sick one also.

Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 7:15 pm

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

There's no way any of the SEC teams would agree to give up a cupcake.  They rely on a series of patsies and then a conference slate that has 2 or 3 difficult teams and a bunch of average to weak conference teams.  (And since this website is sponsored by the SEC, you will notice that anyone who disagrees with the SEC gets a low score on the post.  Gee, how does that happen).

Since: Jan 2, 2012
Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:27 pm

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

Is it really that cold in Missouri? The last time I looked the state was in the United States, and not a province of the Great White North - Canada!!! LOL

Nine games in the SEC would be a killer. It is tough enough for the southern teams to be knocking one another out 8 times every year. Give them a break and let them schedule a Memphis State or Chattanooga once in awhile. Ole Miss, however, had better be careful who they schedule out of conference! LOL 

Since: Jan 15, 2012
Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:20 pm

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

everybody else already plays 9.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:59 pm

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

9 games means half of the teams in the conference have another loss on the books thus hurting their rankings and Bowl eligibiliy. Perhaps the other conferences should follow suit and even up the playing field.

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:40 pm

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

why would you play 9 conference games when you could schedule a game against Wofford?

Since: Jan 15, 2012
Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:18 pm

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

I think they should man up and play 9 games, but if they refuse they should get rid of the permanent rival and rotate 2 teams instead of one.  The ONLY fans bases in the SEC that even care about a permanent rival are AU/UGA and ALA/UT.  that's 4 teams out of 14 that want it.  If Auburn/Georgia and Alabama/Tennessee want to play each other so badly schedule it as a OOC game.   Why do something 10 other fan bases DO NOT WANT?

Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:35 pm

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

Regardless of whether they end up with 4 or 5 home games against SEC teams, Missouri should play all its league games after mid-October to have a cold weather advantage.  LSU is the Bayou Bengals and Auburn is the Tiger/War Eagle, but Mizzou should be the Siberian Tigers.

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