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.
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.