The new scheduling policy in the SEC will keep an eight-game conference schedule and require all SEC schools to schedule at least one game annually against an opponent from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 or Pac-12 in what is supposed to be used to improve the strength of schedule across the conference. Not everybody seems too happy with the new policy, including LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva. Alleva took aim at the permanent cross-division match-ups the SEC locked to each member. LSU was paired with Florida.
“I’m disappointed in the fact that the leadership of our conference doesn’t understand the competitive advantage permanent partners give to certain institutions,” Alleva said, according to The Times-Picayune. “I tried to bring that up very strongly at the meeting [Sunday]. In our league we share the money and expenses equally but we don’t share our opponents equally.”
Alleva points to the number of times LSU has played Florida and Georgia since the 2000 season and compares that to the number of times Alabama has played. LSU has tangled with the Gators and Bulldogs, two of the top teams out of the SEC East since the turn of the century more often than not, a total of 19 times. The Crimson Tide have faced Florida or Georgia eight times in the regular season.
“That is a competitive disadvantage,” for LSU, says Alleva. “I’m not pushing for the self-interest of LSU. I’m pushing for the equity.”
The problem with the conference opting to stick to a conference schedule with just eight games is how difficult it comes to keep all 14 conference members happy when it comes to football scheduling. With just eight conference games nailed down with six division games and one protected crossover match-up, somebody is bound to get upset and the infrequency other schools may show up on their or some other school’s schedule. The SEC is now locked to this scheduling format for the next six to eight years, according to Alleva, so the idea of expanding the conference schedule to nine games before that time looks far-fetched even with the addition of the SEC Network later this summer. Perhaps the best solution to satisfy historical rivalries and increased cross-over division games in conferences with 14 members would be to have the NCAA approve an expansion on the regular season to 14 games. Then larger conferences could schedule nine or ten-game conference schedules that keep protected crossover match-ups, allow for more cross-division games and keep non-conference schedule more or less in place for existing scheduling formulas and the SEC’s power conference policy.
Hey, it’s just a thought.