Eight or nine conference games? That is the question facing the SEC with the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012.
And, not so unexpectedly, it will remain a question for the foreseeable future.
SEC athletic directors met for seven hours in Nashville earlier Wednesday, and the shape of future football schedules was one of the items on the agenda. Alas, Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News reports, no final decision was made on whether those future SEC football slates will include eight or nine games.
“There was thoughtful and collegial discussion by the group about several different concepts,” SEC spokesman Charles Bloom said in a statement.
At least at this point in time, a nine-game football schedule has little support among the membership for myriad reasons, with the ADs at Georgia and Tennessee being the lone known exceptions.
Adding another conference game would mean taking away one of the non-conference pastries that litter big-time football program’s schedules, ostensibly making it harder to become bowl-eligible; if the NCAA makes the rumored move to require seven wins in order to qualify for a bowl, that argument becomes a moot point. Then there are those who argue over the inherent unfairness of a nine-game schedule giving some teams five conference home games in a given season while others would only have four, although over time each member would be affected equally and negate any “unfairness”.
The reality is there really is no “good” reason for the conference to not add a game to its conference schedule to go along with its expanded membership. Or, as the always outstanding Mr. SEC.com put it in his must-read take on the situation, “the only reason not to go to a nine-game slate is pure cowardice.”
Not a lot of gray area there, and for good reason.
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.