For those that love to take shots at the various delectable cream puffs that litter the non-conference schedules of some SEC schools, here’s another (very tiny) opening for you.
In a report over the weekend from the Wisconsin State Journal regarding Wisconsin’s efforts to beef-up its own pastry-like out-of-conference slate, UW athletic director Barry Alvarez acknowledged that, as part of that effort, that there had been conversations with Alabama about a future game or games.
The initial offer, which the State Journal writes was orchestrated by ESPN, was a for a neutral site game between UW and UA, similar to Alabama’s game this season at Dallas Cowboys Stadium against another Big Ten school, Michigan. When the neutral site option was rebuffed, Badgers head coach Bret Bielema countered with an offer of a straight home-and-home series.
According to the paper, Tide head coach Nick Saban declined. No reason was given by Alvarez for the Tide’s decision to rebuff the Badgers’ advances.
It should be noted that, in addition to the Michigan game this year and the home-and-home series with Penn State in 2010 and 2011, the Tide has future home-and-homes/one-offs scheduled against Virginia Tech (2013), West Virginia (2014), Michigan State (2016 and 2017) and Georgia Tech (2019 and 2020).
Because the recently-revamped postseason is expected to include strength of schedule as one of the factors in the selection committee’s process for determining the four-team playoff field, Alvarez stressed that “if you want to be a player” in the revamped hunt for a national championship, “then you really have to consider” changing the way schools fill their future schedules.
That said, Alvarez declined to absolutely commit to beefing up the non-conference slates, if for nothing more than the fact that, given the stature of his current conference, he feels comfortable that the Badgers would be where they’d need to be on the national scene if they can come out of league play unscathed.
“If we take care of our business in our league, we’ll be where we need to be,” he said. “You go undefeated in our league, you’re going to be in the top four in the country. You win our league championship, you’re going to be in the top four.”
(Tip O’ the Cap: al.com)