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SEC to continue with eight conference games, but nine could come soon

Mike Slive AP

Mike Slive didn’t waste much time getting the “breaking news” out of the way: the SEC will, as expected, continue with an eight-game conference schedule (a 6-1-1 model) in 2014 and likely 2015 as well.

But what the topic of scheduling lacked in drama or anticipation, it more than made up for in discussion. Most of the SEC’s coaches understandably favor an eight-game model — though there is some disagreement over whether a permanent crossover rival should be part of it — because the fourth out-of-conference game is almost always a money game against the North Texas (#GoMeanGreen) or UT-Chattanoogas of the college football world. It’s basically a guaranteed win at home. Basically.

Alabama coach Nick Saban is looking beyond the easy wins, though.

“If you look at it through a straw and how it affects you and you’re self-absorbed about it, nobody’s going to be for it,” Saban said about the possibility of a nine-game SEC schedule (via Andy Staples of SI). “I shouldn’t be for it. We’ve got a better chance to be more successful if we don’t do it. But I think it’s best for the game and for the league. That’s what I think. So I’m trying to look at it from 1,000 feet.”

The idea of a nine-game SEC slate has been bounced around some, but traction’s been hard to come by. That could, and probably will, change some time after the SEC’s network gets up and running in 2014 — perhaps in 2016. Staples does a good job explaining the difference between quantity and quality of inventory that would land on the SEC network, but the belief is that a nine-game schedule would allow for a better selection of games than your standard cupcakes.

And then there’s the College Football Playoff angle, of which scheduling is supposed to be a factor worthy of heavy consideration. As long as the CFP’s selection committee weighs scheduling appropriately, adding another conference game would actually seem beneficial for the SEC. Conversely, keeping cupcakes in that fourth nonconference slot would, in theory, hurt an SEC team.

Scheduling is already difficult enough as it is, and trying to maintain tradition and fairness only adds to the headaches it can cause. Eventually, I see the SEC going to a nine-game slate. For the immediate future though, it’s a TBD topic.

 

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35 Responses to “SEC to continue with eight conference games, but nine could come soon”
  1. alligatorsnapper says: May 28, 2013 8:57 PM

    Another advantage of 9 SEC games would be that an incoming freshman would play against all teams in the SEC by the time he graduates. That is an experience that is truly wonderful for the player, at least those to whom I have spoken.

    But the SEC will wait until the cupcake games are weighed against them, the SEC network wants competitive games to broadcast to gain viewership and games against cupcakes will not provide viewers. The SEC will wait until the strength of schedule kicks in and they are penalized for the cupcakes and would have been awarded more “points” for playing a fellow SEC team.

    The PAC and other conferences will keep a 9 game conference schedule and if this leads to a team or two from those conferences gaining rankings for the extra game, the brilliant minds in the SEC will capitulate quickly.

  2. bertenheim says: May 28, 2013 9:17 PM

    How can the SEC jeopardize those match-ups with Chattanooga, Georgia Sou., App. St., Furman, Idaho, and Coastal Carolina?
    That’s November in the SEC.

  3. thefiesty1 says: May 28, 2013 9:49 PM

    Ask Arkansas how that “basically guaranteed home win” worked out scheduling a non con game with UL Monroe!

  4. 35longmiles says: May 29, 2013 6:18 AM

    bertenheim says:
    May 28, 2013 9:17 PM
    How can the SEC jeopardize those match-ups with Chattanooga, Georgia Sou., App. St., Furman, Idaho, and Coastal Carolina?
    —————–
    Every single team in every single conference has these types of match ups you ignorant doucher.

  5. dcroz says: May 29, 2013 6:24 AM

    This issue is evidence that the SEC is letting its success go to its head. There is no question than only playing eight conference games when all the other majors are going to nine (barring scheduling a second tough non-conference game as opposed to a cupcake) will hurt the league in the eyes of the selection committee, and fans are not going to be anxious to tune into the SEC Network to watch the latest game against Chattanooga or The Citadel. But this also affects attendance; as Saban pointed out elsewhere in his interview, watching the game at home on increasingly-affordable big-screen TVs is becoming more and more appealing, and unless teams schedule games worth going out to the stadium to watch, then that will become the default means of enjoying the game and hurt ticket sales. The SEC has prided itself on being the conference driving the bus in college football at this time, but on this issue it is riding in the back.

  6. titansbro says: May 29, 2013 8:01 AM

    An 8 game SEC schedule with 4 games against peewee teams is still a tougher schedule than any other team in any other conference will play. Everyone knows this but for some reason some still won’t admit it.

  7. amosalanzostagg says: May 29, 2013 9:13 AM

    bertenheim wrote on May 28, 2013 9:17 PM

    How can the SEC jeopardize those match-ups with Chattanooga, Georgia Sou., App. St., Furman, Idaho, and Coastal Carolina?
    That’s November in the SEC.

    _______________________

    True,

    We play hungry mid level teams with offense in November in order to prepare us for the Bowl season when we face the slow, old man football of the B1G.

    Hey you have to compensate for the Bowl game because beating B1G teams are routine.

  8. bertenheim says: May 29, 2013 10:17 AM

    Last year the top 6 teams in the SEC were 30-0 against the other 8. This year AL, A&M and S.Car do not play the top 3 in the other division.

    Every team in the country has non-AQ or FCS opponents in September, not November.

  9. bertenheim says: May 29, 2013 10:19 AM

    “Ignorant doucher.” There’s a biting rebuttal.

  10. raysfan1 says: May 29, 2013 10:21 AM

    The biggest problem with 6-1-1 model is that it creates strength of conference schedule discrepancies within the division. UGA, for example, plays Auburn every year while FL plays LSU. Currently Auburn is not in the top half of the Western Division; if the rotating opponent for UGA is also a lower tier team from the west, then UGA has an easier road to the division title. A 9 game schedule would have 2 rotating opponents again, same as before the last round of expansion, which would ameliorate (to an extent) the potential strength of schedule impact of the permanent crossover game.

  11. manchestermiracle says: May 29, 2013 11:16 AM

    35longmiles says:

    “Every single team in every single conference has these types of match ups you ignorant doucher.”

    Simply not true. USC, UCLA, and Notre Dame have never scheduled a game with a team out of their division. Ever. Here’s hoping the coming strength-of-schedule component puts the kibosh on these pathetic excuses for match-ups.

  12. normtide says: May 29, 2013 11:27 AM

    I want to see a nine game slate, and it will come. Most teams want to cross over rivals to stay too. Florida’s AD wants to play LSU every year. He had a gear quote, about not bring afraid of big games.

    As for SOS, SEC teams already lead the way in that. Your kidding yourself if you think the SEC will be left out of the playoff. Most expect them to consistently get two teams in. Again, at the end of the day, your going to have to take the SEC down ON THE FIELD, not I’m the offices.

  13. 8to80texansblog says: May 29, 2013 11:33 AM

    @bertenheim

    What does it matter if A&M plays Sam Houston in September or November….

    Most teams use the cupcake as a tuneup. The SEC though is so physically demanding that they feel its better to use it as a second bye week. (By the way, the Aggies had no actual bye week last year)

  14. gamustangdude says: May 29, 2013 11:55 AM

    manchestermiracle says:May 29, 2013 11:16 AM

    35longmiles says:

    “Every single team in every single conference has these types of match ups you ignorant doucher.”

    Simply not true. USC, UCLA, and Notre Dame have never scheduled a game with a team out of their division. Ever. Here’s hoping the coming strength-of-schedule component puts the kibosh on these pathetic excuses for match-ups.

    _______________________________

    The semantics police are out.

    “Every single conference has teams that have these types of matchups….”

    There, I fixed it.

  15. mydixienormus says: May 29, 2013 12:36 PM

    Not only does the SEC schedule cream-puff non-conference games, but then they get to play the following teams:
    – Kentucky
    – Vandy
    – MS Community Colleges
    – Auburn
    – Arkansas
    – TN
    – Missouri

    The result is a minimum of 6 wins and a bowl game.

    Best conference in football? Please.

  16. bertenheim says: May 29, 2013 2:36 PM

    What’s wrong with this schedule?

    O. 26 Furman at LSU
    O. 26 FLA off
    O. 26 UGA off

    N. 2 UTEP at TxA&M
    N. 2 AL off
    N. 2 LSU off

    N. 9 App St at UGA
    N. 9 S.Car off

    N. 16 LSU off
    N. 16 TxA&M off

    N. 23 Chatt at AL
    N. 23 GaSou at FLA
    N. 23 CoCar at S.Car

  17. 8to80texansblog says: May 29, 2013 3:23 PM

    Way to go find a bunch of non conference games in Oct and Nov…. I still don’t see the point. Who cares. Why does it matter WHEN they play the creampuffs?

  18. 8to80texansblog says: May 29, 2013 3:27 PM

    mydixienormus says:
    May 29, 2013 12:36 PM
    Not only does the SEC schedule cream-puff non-conference games, but then they get to play the following teams:
    – Kentucky
    – Vandy
    – MS Community Colleges
    – Auburn
    – Arkansas
    – TN
    – Missouri

    The result is a minimum of 6 wins and a bowl game.

    Best conference in football? Please.

    ==================================
    And Ohio St. gets to play…. well basically of the Big 10…. Your point?

    If the SEC isn’t the best conference in College Football, then give me a rational explanation of which conference is.

    And if anywhere in your explanation your refer to the Big 10 as the B1G… you automatically lose.

  19. mydixienormus says: May 29, 2013 3:33 PM

    8to80:
    I appreciate you being open to the debate unlike many SEC knuckle dragger.

    I’ve always said the top of the SEC is good, damn good.

    The rest of the SEC is on par with other conferences though (i.e. Big 12, Pac 12, etc.).

    Since the SEC has 14 teams, you can’t compare them via straight numbers either. Better to use percentages.

  20. 8to80texansblog says: May 29, 2013 3:58 PM

    Well here’s my argument:

    * The SEC had more than double the amount of NFL draft picks of any other conference this last year. (this, to me, is the ultimate measure, how much NFL level talent does your conference have to play against week in and week out). And thats not just this last year. Over the past 10 years the SEC has produced 15.7% of all NFL players drafted. The next closest is the Big 10 with 13%.

    * Half of the AP and USA Today top 10 including the champion was from the SEC last year. In the final BCS poll almost half the league is included in the top 10….

    * The SEC has won the last 7 BCS Titles.

    * 4 out of the last 6 Heisman trophy winners are from the SEC.

    Pretty compelling argument if you ask me. But I am more than willing to hear opposing views.

  21. mydixienormus says: May 29, 2013 4:09 PM

    zzzzzzzzzz

  22. 8to80texansblog says: May 29, 2013 4:15 PM

    Wow… when you put it that way…. Conference (Insert Conference Name Here) is obvioulsy the best conference in the nation. I mean who could possibly deny the evidence you’ve presented…

  23. normtide says: May 29, 2013 4:52 PM

    Asking for a civil debate, as opposed to knuckle dragging, then only having “zzzzzzz” to say in reply : PRICELESS!

    And I guess Utah, Colorado, WSU, and Cal is murderer’s row. Comparing your best teams to or worst, you were really going in with that argument. On May 29, 2013 3:15 PM, “CollegeFootballTalk” wrote:

    > ** > 8to80texansblog commented: “Wow… when you put it that way…. > Conference (Insert Conference Name Here) is obvioulsy the best conference > in the nation. I mean who could possibly deny the evidence you’ve > presented…”

  24. dannygjay says: May 29, 2013 5:07 PM

    I know its been said before and I for one believe if MS State, Ole Miss, SC, Vandy are in any other conference, they are all in the top third of the conference. As far as playing cream puffs, if your not in the SEC your team is one, so we would never be able to play your team

  25. mydixienormus says: May 29, 2013 5:16 PM

    Dannygjay:

    South Carolina maybe.

    The MS Community Colleges and Vandy…not so much.

    Normtide:

    Utah? Colorado and WSU are terrible, but Utah is a respectable team.

  26. 8to80texansblog says: May 30, 2013 11:02 AM

    SC > 83% of the PAC 12 (and would probably be a good game between Stanford or Oregon)

    Vandy > Utah

    Ole Miss > WSU

    Miss St > Colorado

    Here’s another pretty telling stat.

    Conference record vs non conference opponents.
    SEC: 52-11
    Next closest Big 12: 29-9

    Your response will be, “The SEC plays tons of FCS teams”… like your conference doesn’t… (to be fair though, the SEC played 5 more FCS teams than the PAC-12, but we didn’t lose any of them like the PAC 12 did).

    Conference record vs non conference opponents (FBS only)
    SEC: 37-11
    Next closest Big 12 just edges the Pac 12: 20-9

  27. harleyspoon says: May 30, 2013 11:18 AM

    The BIG12 schools play 100% of the other teams in their conference…and that means the BIG12 champ, which plays a round robin schedule, is the real champ of the conference…

    The deal is that if all conferences were limited to ten teams, that would make it possible to have 8 major geographically configured conferences with quality programs. It would allow for an honest play-off bracket for the real–not a contrived or convoluted scenario for coming up with the media’s “desired”–national champion. The networks and the college football fans get their money’s worth and a real national champion to boot….Only teams in major conferences can be eligible to compete for the national championship. that means all “Independents” must be in a conference. Such a scenario would eliminate the need for the hated “conference championship game”….and would make it possible for the NCAA to allow a 13 game regular season schedule for member schools should the schools want to have access to one more non-conference game in the regular season; nine conference games and four non-conference games.

    The BIG12 already has its 10 teams. I would trade WVU for LSU or Arkansas in a minute for a geographically sound set-up…I have no doubt WVU could adequately fill that spot in the SEC left by such a trade…Arkansas would no longer have the fear of an all Texas conference (as was the case in the old Southwest Conference) dominating the agenda. Neither would LSU have to fear such a problem.

    Finally, such an alignment would not disrupt the bowl system. The teams that win a set number of games-say 6–but are not the conference champ–can accept bowl bids as is the case now…and there would be no need to disrupt conference bowl alignments…

  28. normtide says: May 30, 2013 11:33 AM

    The big 12 only has ten teams because they can’t find any suitable teams to invite. That’s why WVU flies over to join them. If they could go to 12, they would. They didn’t choose to have ten, programs left. Good luck getting any team to leave the SEC. There is no exit fee, that’s not what stops them. And, Texas died still dominate the league, don’t fool yourself. No one sees the 12 as the ideal setup.

  29. 8to80texansblog says: May 30, 2013 5:16 PM

    @harleyspoon
    You might as well sit up all night on Christmas eve and wait for Santa…. What you described ain’t happening!

    You’d be asking Conferences to give up money… that will never happen!

    @normtide
    He’s not referencing a UT dominated conference, rather the SWC was ALL schools in Texas and then Arkansas. Trying to recruit in a state where your the odd man out made it tough on Arkansas so they jumped ship for the SEC.

  30. normtide says: May 30, 2013 5:30 PM

    Apologies, after rereading, I see that now. I stand by my statements though

  31. tlmoon2112 says: May 30, 2013 8:13 PM

    I find it amazing that tea baggers and fans of destruction of public property are lecturing the rest of us on having a “civil debate”. The narcissism of Tuscaloosa had no end.

    Roll Turd

  32. normtide says: May 30, 2013 8:19 PM

    Tlmoon- you only post about Alabama. Either your an Alabama fan, or someone who has a very sad life. Either way, way to stereotype. Good job!

  33. 8to80texansblog says: May 31, 2013 11:13 AM

    @tlmoon2112

    I’m definitely no tea bagger, I’m a dark blue man stuck in a dark red state. I don’t get the destruction of public property quip. And if you want to have a civil debate, then please put forth your argument.

    Otherwise, stop lecturing us about our civility when you come out of nowhere stereotyping us and using derogatory epithets.

  34. amosalanzostagg says: Jun 1, 2013 11:51 AM

    8to8

    Toomers corner reference.

  35. normtide says: Jun 1, 2013 9:32 PM

    Some facts for those who think the SEC is only a to heavy league.

    * Not a single SEC school has finished with a winning conference record in each of the last 10 seasons

    * Not a single SEC school has finished with a losing conference record in each of the last 10 seasons

    * Over the last five years (2008-2012), not a single SEC school has finished 6-2 or better in all five years

    * Only one SEC school (Alabama) even finished with a winning record in each of the last five SEC seasons

    * Only one SEC school (Kentucky) finished with a losing record in each of the last five SEC seasons

    * LSU is the only SEC school to have finished 6-2 or better in each of the last three seasons

    The SEC has 5 different teams to win a BCS Title.

    Things seem fairly balanced to me.

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