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No decision made on eight- or nine-game SEC slate

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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.

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29 Responses to “No decision made on eight- or nine-game SEC slate”
  1. drummerhoff says: Feb 29, 2012 9:39 PM

    The SEC should go to nine games … especially after adding Texas A&M and Missouri. After all, its not like the premier conference in college football got harder after adding these modestly competitive football programs with a history of middling success.

  2. gopokes0714 says: Feb 29, 2012 10:22 PM

    They can’t go to 9 games. They wouldn’t be able to schedule as many cupcakes.

  3. thefiesty1 says: Feb 29, 2012 10:40 PM

    They just got two easy wins by adding Missouri and A&M, except for Vandy, Ole Miss and maybe Miss St. They’re not Kent State, NE Louisiana or Georgia State, but that doesnt mean they shouldn’t go to 9.

  4. southernpatriots says: Feb 29, 2012 11:32 PM

    Word is the SEC will go a 9 game conference schedule eventually, but that eventually may be very soon.

    Keep in mind, A & M was the team that beat Texas and Oklahoma in the same season, a couple of seasons back. Take LSU’s schedule last season for cupcake comparisons. This year with Towson, I am not quite sure unless they do as they did with Oregon, payoff Towson and substitute Notre Dame or USC…well, an old fan can dream, can’t he?

  5. kdbroom says: Mar 1, 2012 7:41 AM

    You guys are unreal. Until someone can actually beat the SEC in the BCSCG, you have no reason to argue anything about the SEC scheduling cupcakes, or getting easier by adding Mizzou and A&M. The SEC doesn’t need cupcakes to help them make it to the BCSCG. Conferences that can’t afford a single loss have to do that. The SEC team can get into the BCSCG, and win, with a loss (or even two).

    On the issue of Mizzou and A&M, they wanted to play with the big boys. That doesn’t mean their teams aren’t competitive. Will they take their lumps for a while? Certainly. Regardless, you could have taken pretty much ANY team in America and added them to the SEC, and you could still legitimately argue that the SEC became watered down.

  6. overratedgators says: Mar 1, 2012 8:10 AM

    I, for one, would hate to miss the nailbiters we saw recently, like Florida-Furman or Florida-Miami (of Ohio).

  7. cometkazie says: Mar 1, 2012 9:15 AM

    Is that what the SEC’s business model calls for?

    It has nothing to do with football and everything to do with the bottom line.

    College football has sold itself to the mighty dollar.

  8. thegamecocker says: Mar 1, 2012 9:31 AM

    @comentkazie @overratedgators

    Agree 100%. College football has sold itself to the almighty dollar. But, that train left the station with the evolution of conference championships and the BCS. So, one way to improve it would be to eliminate as many of the “patsy” games as possible by adding a 9th conference game in the mighty SEC. Some of these games are not worthy of the prices fans shell out to watch them. It’s a farce. Also, Mizzou and Texas A&M will more than hold their own against SEC competition. Some of you SEC elitists feel those schools shouldn’t be on the same field! If I were A&M and Mizzou, that is EXACTLY what they would want you to believe. IMO, at a minimum, both of these schools will end up in bowl games next season.

  9. florida727 says: Mar 1, 2012 9:46 AM

    Personally, I’d favor the 9-game conference schedule even if it meant the run of 6 consecutive national championships for SEC teams comes to an end.

    But for ANYONE to criticize the teams as having “cupcakes” on their schedule, I’ll refer to John 8:7… “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. EVERY top-tier team has guaranteed wins on their schedule, so get off the cupcake comments. YOUR team has them too.

    And, yes, college football has sold itself to the almighty dollar. In case anyone hadn’t noticed, it is a business.

    BTW, I hope “gamecocker” is right and both Mizzou and A&M go to bowl games next year. It’ll help validate their decision to join the SEC, which right now at least has EARNED the right to promote itself as the premier college football conference in America. Again, at least for now…

  10. thegamecocker says: Mar 1, 2012 10:00 AM

    @florida727

    You are correct that every school has easy teams on their schedule. For every Appalachian State that upsets a Michigan, over 95% of those games are won by the high-profile team. And South Carolina is no different in their scheduling with UAB and Wofford on this years slate. I’d rather see a Wofford replaced by a 9th SEC game. Rutgers, my other favorite school, plays Howard University on this years schedule. A lousy game if ever there was one. However, they did add Arkansas in Fayettville so that’s good. I think playing a tough schedule makes the team better in the long-run.

  11. jmig320 says: Mar 1, 2012 12:17 PM

    Since i’m a fan of quality football, i’m all for a 9 game sec schedule. It would make better viewing than having one of the powers playing against ”Directional State University.”

  12. fcmlefty1 says: Mar 1, 2012 12:30 PM

    And this is exactly why the scheduling should be done by an independent 3rd party, and not the schools themselves. Each conference should play essentially the same type of schedule – 9 in conference play, 6 home, 6 away over all.

    Of course, all conferences would need to be built the same – 14 teams each, 7 in each division, culminating in a conference championship game.

  13. frug says: Mar 1, 2012 1:10 PM

    For all the talk of bowl eligibility, the bigger issue is keeping seven home games, which the big boys believe they need (when the Big Ten was toying with a 9 game schedule Delaney said that was the number one priority). That said, in a 14 team conference I don’t see how you can handle this. If you keep an 8 game schedule and a protected crossover, you are looking at 12 year break between playing your known protected interdivision opponents. In other words, a kid get enroll at Auburn, earn his bachelors, masters and PHD and still never get to see his team play Florida. Really, if you want to be more than two conferences that share a TV deal, you have to either ditch the protected games (which Florida and LSU favor) or add the extra conference game.

    (On the fairness issue, I think it is worth noting that the ACC found a fairly ingenious solution by having everyone in the division play the same number of home games every year (i.e. all teams in the Atlantic Division play 5 home games in even years, and Coastal teams play 5 home games in odd years)

    As for the cupcake issue, I will add that USC plays a 9 game conference schedule, a rivalry game with ND and still refuses to play 1-AA teams (one of only 3 teams to have never done so since the division split). Heck, in the past 4 years they have only played 2 non-AQs (San Jose St. and @Hawaii)

  14. thegamecocker says: Mar 1, 2012 2:29 PM

    @frug

    That is why I have so much respect for Southern Cal! They do not play CUPCAKES! Every game is meaningful and that is why they are always a Top 10 team. That is why not too many SEC teams want to play them during the regular season. Auburn played them in 2002 and 2003 and got their asses whupped both times. Even though they are on probation, they still get the best players and send more players to the NFL than any other school in the country. In 2004 when Auburn was undefeated they would have gotten beaten in the NC game. Southern Cal was the best team that year and might have been the best last season if they were allowed in the BCS. They will be excellent this coming season as well. Southern Cal is a school I have much respect for. Not Auburn though. No respect for those tigers or whore eagle…did I spell that correctly?

  15. jrspike says: Mar 1, 2012 3:21 PM

    Let’s see, play Auburn or Southern Illinois. Nope I really want to play all 12 games in the SEC. Now that would really show us who the BCS should choose.

  16. florida727 says: Mar 2, 2012 7:52 AM

    Just an FYI regarding Southern Cal. Their non-conference schedule includes Hawaii, Syracuse (NOT the basketball team), and Colorado. Not exactly a Murderer’s Row of teams, so don’t think they don’t have a few easy wins penciled in either. Like I said, EVERYBODY has them.

  17. thegamecocker says: Mar 2, 2012 8:18 AM

    @florida727

    Syracuse a Big East / BCS team so not a patsy.
    Hawaii always plays teams tough at home, even when they travel a “short distance” from LA; also Hawaii not at bad team.
    Colorado is now a member of the Pac 10 so they are not a patsy.
    Here is Florida’s “Patsy” line-up for 2012:
    La.-Lafayette and Jacksonville St. They also play Bowling Green from the MAC conference and that game should be more competitive than the other two.

    Look, I’m not having at you for this schedule. As you’ve correctly stated most teams do it. I just think it makes no sense as I’d rather see games where the two schools can compete on an even level starting out. Neither La-Lafayette nor Jacksonville St have the resources UF does. Neither does Bowling Green for that matter but BG is at least a higher-profile program which should be able to stay with the Gators for a half or longer. Believe me, South Carolina and Rutgers play games I don’t bother watching because they are “built-in” wins and I won’t waste my time or my money.

  18. southernpatriots says: Mar 2, 2012 9:19 AM

    florida727 and all great posters on this thread:

    I may well be communicating my age, but from the earliest memories of LSU and SEC football, even before Billy Cannon, every team had at the most 1 or 2 harder games each year. Most of their schedules would be filled with patsies or semi-patsies (state schools who could barely field a team and the players did not even wear the same uniforms). Some of these schools had players that were recruited the week before to fill out their team. I was a kid back then but I remember my father laughing and all us kids laughing at the description over the radio or seeing them in person.

    Playing one or two really good teams each season and all the rest easy ones (who would come up every once in a while and beat the big guys) was the normal.

    We would get the biggest kick out of a little team beating a big guy (unless it was LSU!)…on our huge Philco radio with huge tubes…which would sometimes give us alot of static and I loved it when I was the one who slapped the radio…ha., we would mix Zatarain’s Root Beer extract (and use yeast to get a fiz!) and make popcorn with all the windows open so everybody in the neighborhood would come over for some popcorn. One time my father popped 23 pots of popcorn! (that is when he began teaching us kids how to do it! ha.)…great memories, even after all these years.

  19. frug says: Mar 2, 2012 2:33 PM

    @florida727

    Hawaii and Syracuse may not be elite, but they are a whole hell of a lot better than any of Bowling Green, Jacksonville St. or UL Lafayette, or at least 80% of the patsies that other school schedule.

    Listen I’m not a Southern Cal fan, but they schedule more aggressively OOC than any other college football alpha dog and comparing them to other schools is completely unfair.

  20. lasseter1113 says: Mar 2, 2012 3:22 PM

    I have a feeling USC is going to be the 7th victim of the SEC in the BCS national championship game next year. IF they make it that far. It’s not about the three patsies a team in the SEC schedules, no it’s the conference schedule that sets them apart. I know, I know, a ton of you disagree. It’s all good. If I had to pick a team that ‘could’ dethrone the SEC it would be USC though. Anyways, I say go ahead, bring on 9 conference games a year. Ain’t nothing but a thang……..

  21. thegamecocker says: Mar 2, 2012 3:29 PM

    You’re not wrong. The SEC week-in / week-out plays the toughest schedule because NO TEAM IN THE SEC IS A PATSY! On any given Sat, one SEC team can beat another. Coach Saban is so good though that I doubt any team could play and beat Alabama twice in one season. If they re-played the Alabama-Auburn game from two years ago, I think Alabama would have creamed them and then Scum Newton could have all the accolades shoved up his rear. I guess when you CHEAT, LIE, & STEAL, you get the “prize”. In Auburns case, it’s disdain from the rest of the college community because they used an ineligible player IMO.

  22. fcmlefty1 says: Mar 2, 2012 3:42 PM

    “NO TEAM IN THE SEC IS A PATSY! ”

    You can’t be serious. The league now has 10 teams as good as it gets. But it still also counts Vandy, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Miss St amongst its ranks. (Though to be fair, Vandy is well on thier way to leaving the other 3 and joining the group of 10). Those latter 3 would still be bottom feeders in the PAC, Big 10 and Big 12 and barely middle of the pack in the ACC. I also doubt any of them could actually win the Big East or Mountain West, but they’d be contenders.

  23. thegamecocker says: Mar 2, 2012 5:45 PM

    Ugghhh, if I’m not mistaken I think you just proved my point: there are no weak teams in the SEC. The 3 you mentioned are challenged at times but would be at least mid-level or contenders in some of the other conferences. Vandy is going to be a handful because they have an outstanding coach who know how to recruit. They will ultimately become the Stanford of the South. And I’m happy they are improving and happier South Carolina opens with them instead of playing them mid-season. Want to get by the ‘Dores.
    And their basketball team is also terrific.

  24. southernpatriots says: Mar 2, 2012 7:32 PM

    This news just in, before I leave for Appalachia again in the morning…

    “The Baton Rouge Advocate is reporting that LSU and Florida may be dropping their annual football matchup. According to {LSU}athletic director Joe Alleva, both schools are interested in ending that particular arrangement, potentially in favor of another annual cross-divisional game (since several conference members still favor them)”

    I don’t know yet what both schools are considering to replace this annual game, but it should be interesting to see, but oh, how we enjoyed these games through the years.

  25. florida727 says: Mar 3, 2012 10:21 AM

    If what you say is true “southernpatriots”, that would be disappointing. Even though you guys have kicked our collective butts recently, the rivalry is a good one, and one I respect.

    BTW, I hope you and your family are doing well. Haven’t communicated with you folks lately.

    “gamecocker”, not to argue with you, but Hawaii plays AT Southern Cal this year, and just because Colorado is now in the Pac 12, that doesn’t mean they’re all of a sudden a powerhouse program. Same goes for Syracuse. Just because they’re in a BCS conference, that doesn’t make them a good program either. Syracuse has had ONE winning season in the past TEN. Colorado has had SIX losing seasons in a row.

    That said, I think you can pencil in USC for the national championship game. Not because of their schedule. Because of their TALENT.

  26. thegamecocker says: Mar 3, 2012 10:36 AM

    @florida727

    You make great points. I guess other than Hawaii, Southern Cal plays out-of-conference (OOC) games against BCS schools. South Carolina and Rutgers, the schools that I support and root for, play OOC non-BCS affiliated schools such as East Carolina, UAB, and Wofford. I would rather we schedule an ACC Team or Big East Team rather than the schools mentioned. Rutgers plays Howard and Tulane. But at least Rutgers was able to schedule Arkansas this coming season as a late addition.

  27. jmig320 says: Mar 4, 2012 9:08 PM

    @southernpatriots

    Good stuff with the story…nice to hear the ”back in the day” reminiscing.

  28. lasseter1113 says: Mar 7, 2012 11:23 AM

    @thegamecocker

    I just wanted to tell you if you didn’t know already that I am a die hard Alabama fan, then again I don’t know many Bama fans that aren’t ‘die hard’, and I just wanted to say thank you for always showing respect for Alabama and Coach Saban. The reason that I say this is because there are so many people out there that won’t give the man the respect that he deserves. Just like I don’t personally like Urban Meyer but I can’t deny the fact that he is a great coach. Most people lie to themselves and everybody else and say they hate Saban and wouldn’t be happy if he was their head coach which is just total B.S. you know? Can I ask you something though? What’s up with all the hate for Auburn? I am an Alabama fan and I really don’t like them either but it seems like your hate for them has a story behind it? I personally think that Cam Newton was guilty as hell but just as far as him being a great football player I have to give him the props he deserves even though I hate him. I am also an Atlanta Falcons fan so I hate him in the NFL too. Anyways, good luck to your gamecocks this fall, take it easy……

  29. thegamecocker says: Mar 7, 2012 6:16 PM

    @lasseter1113

    Thank you Sir! I have absolutely no problem admitting that “scam the sham and the pharoahs” newton is a GREAT PLAYER! I never said he wasn’t and I have no problem admitting that he is a great player. My loathing of him stems from the fact that he has made a mockery of the collegiate football universe with his presence leading Auburn to a tarnished nc. Just as OJ’s lawyers made a mockery of the judicial system, the NCAA and Mike Slive made a mockery of the 2010 National Championship and every game in which he was allowed to play. The NCAA changed the rules soon after scam’s testimony. Can you imagine your father, the person you respect and love, shopping you around AFTER being dismissed from U of Fla for lying and stealing? And then claiming to not know that was happening. That to me is a terrible injustice to all upstanding scholar-athletes. I would love to know how many credits he “earned” during his ONE SEMESTER at Auburn? If Auburn wants to put a statue up of someone who barely attended their school, doesn’t that seem bizarre? If I were affiliated with Auburn, I would hope they would select someone who had a profound positive contribution to mankind as a tribute. Hell, make a statue of Tim Cook, the new CEO of Apple Computer. He has contributed a hell of a lot more than “scam the sham” IMO. Auburn did not win with honor and integrity. Those kind of things only happen at THE University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Men like Bear Bryant and Nick Saban know how to do it the right way! ROLL DAM TIDE!!!

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