SEC, rivalries über alles.

After reading McGarity’s comments about the SEC’s scheduling plans for a 13-school conference, I think if they can devise something that threads the needle between two major considerations, somebody should be in line to win a Nobel Prize in mathematics:

- McGarity reiterated that certain rivalries, such as Georgia-Auburn, will receive a strong push to be retained. He also cited Tennessee-Alabama

“You’ll probably see several A.D.s that will think it’s very important to preserve several long-standing games,” he said. “You’ve got a handful of games there that date back so many years. There’s a definite hope that those games are preserved.”

- Don’t look for a ninth conference game to simply be added to the 2012 schedule. McGarity pointed out that Georgia’s non-conference schedule is filled through 2014.

“You would end up getting out of contracts,” McGarity said. “But I think the eight-game model is probably the one that everybody is comfortable with. But who knows, we haven’t even discussed it yet. We’re not sure what will be on the table to discuss until we meet as a group.”

Honestly, I don’t think they can reconcile the two.  And if they can’t, I know which of the two should matter more.  Excuse me, does matter more.  Unfortunately, my guess is that when push comes to shove, the ADs won’t agree with me.

Even a soulless robot like Nick Saban knows that preserving rivalries is good for the conference.

… Saban only seemed to have one strong feeling on the subject.

“I just hope that the integrity of the rivalries that we have in our league do not get impaired by what’s happening,” he said.

As for that concern about breaking contracts with Directional State A&M, isn’t that what all the new money coming from the “look-in” on the TV contracts should be for?

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47 Comments

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47 responses to “SEC, rivalries über alles.

  1. 1992 Dawg

    Senator, this is the beginning of the end. Soon our beloved sport will be just like the NFL. Seems to me that the almighty dollar trumps whatever consideration should be given to preserving the rivalries, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this mess.

    • Russ

      I agree, and I don’t think it will end well. We’re a few years away from having four national conferences of 16 teams each, and there’s your playoff system. The have-nots will continue to play in the traditional way and compete for minor bowls or NCAA championships.

      I guess I’m part of the problem because I watch pretty much all the games they throw out there, and I’ve been calling for a playoff for a while.

  2. baltimore dawg

    it’s almost sickening to watch the sec making some of the same mistakes mlb started making 20 years ago with regard to the diminishment of its own history and old rivalaries in the pursuit of increased tv revenue. the walmartization of everything continues apace. . . .

    • If they go to a nine-game conference schedule, they would alleviate much of the concern over preserving rivalries. But there are all sorts of business reasons for them to avoid doing so: the contract issues McGarity cites, coaching complaints about losing a cupcake game, loss of a home game every other season, etc.

      Sadly, I would be surprised if the latter considerations don’t win out. But I’m sure we’ll be told how great a decision it is for the fans when they stay with eight conference games.

      • baltimore dawg

        i share your pessimism about the eventual outcome.

      • Baron de Coubertin

        However, they could very easily preserve the rivalries by moving to the 9 game schedule and adding a 13th regular season game.

        They could add a 13th game easily because the regular season pretty much over by the end of November & the post-season does not begin in full for the BCS conferences until late December so time is not that big a factor.

        Adding a game to the regular season is not collectively bargained, so the players have no real influence.

        Keep in mind that the until the expansion is fully completed, every schedule tweak, post-season change is just temporary. Once the “super-conferences” and their memberships are established, they are going to re-write the Div. 1-A NCAA football regulations in their favor anyway – adding a 13th game makes sense for rivalries and the lure of easy payday $$$ for those left out will not be turned down by the non-BCS 1-A or 1-AA schools.

  3. David

    The simple solution to keeping all of the existing east/west rivalries is to add their next team from the east. Adding Missouri and then shifting Auburn to the east makes a mess of everything. We’ll get stuck locked in with A&M, Auburn v. Tennessee goes away on a yearly basis, etc. I just wish they’d figure a way to get Clemson or FSU to join the SEC. I know the tv markets and whatnot aren’t there, but those really are the teams that make the most sense.

    • Not so fast, my friend. Stay at an eight-game conference schedule with fourteen schools and I guarantee that rivalries like the annual Alabama-Tennessee game will become a thing of the past.

      You have to increase the conference slate if you want to save the rivalries. There just isn’t any way around that.

      • David

        You’re probably right. Thinking this through, 7 teams per side means 6 games against your division opponents. If you locked in with 1 team from the other division, you’re rotating 1 game between 6 teams. And if you’re doing a home and home, you’d see the other teams every 12 years unless you went to a 9 conference schedule.

  4. HahiraDawg

    and why would Auburn to the east mean AU v. UT would end as a yearly match-up?

    • HahiraDawg

      this should have been a reply to David

      • NCT

        I think he meant Bama-Tennessee. We’ve already lost Auburn-Tennessee. And Auburn-Florida. And Bama-Vandy.

      • David

        I think you meant Bama/Tennessee. And the reason is because Bama would obviously lock in with Auburn from the east as their team they would play every year. We’d lose Auburn as they would now be on our side, so we’d have to pick up A&M or Missouri.

        • NCT

          More shuffling. If it’s Mizzou, Kentucky would make more sense. Shift things around to give us Ole Miss back. The Oxford-Athens parity, such as it is, deserves to return.

        • Cojones

          If Auburn’s in the East, how do we lose that matchup? We would have to play them every year. Bama then becomes the UGA of the West in scheduling Auburn every year. Or did I miss the whole point?

          The 13th game idea doesn’t mess with much.

          • I think there are a bunch of Alabama and Tennessee fans who would vehemently disagree with you.

          • David

            You read me wrong, or perhaps I wasn’t clear. We’d lose Auburn as our locked in team from the west division since they would now be on our side. Auburn/Bama lock in every year obviously and we’d have to pick up somebody else. Bama then has to walk away from being tied to Tennessee every year.

  5. Normaltown Mike

    Is there any way we can get Florida off our schedule?

    Just askin’

  6. Dog in Fla

    “SEC, rivalries über alles.”

    Wilkommen Aggies! On deck Alden, Deaton and

  7. Macallanlover

    Something tells me Florida will not fight hard to maintain LSU as an annual rivalry game. I support a 9 game conference schedule, but 10 would be OK with me too. Abuse of the additional games by playing more cupcakes has devalued the home schedules. Season ticket holders are now subsidizing the small schools at the expense of better match-ups.

    • Cojones

      That thinking is forming. Many would like to play as many SEC teams as possible while shunning the cupcakes. It’s like taking drugs, you get so hooked on seeing a W that the whole idea of hard competition appears suicidal.

  8. JamicaJoe

    The quick fix for a 14 team league is to send Vandy to the west and bring Bama and Awbarn both to the east

  9. JBJ

    Any chance we get to a 16 team SEC and there is a split into four divisions? You would have to throw in two conference semifinal games to get to the championship.

    • If they split into four divisions, they’d take the two best division champs only. No way you see conference semi-final games.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        If the SEC were serious about competition you would have (with a 13 team conference) a 12 game schedule with every team playing every other team each year–no OOC games. A true conference champion would emerge. Ain’t gonna happen. $$$$$$$.

  10. Hobnail_Boot

    If the SEC goes to a permanent 9-game schedule, Georgia should seriously consider dropping Georgia Tech as an annual rival.

    Feel free to schedule them for home-and-home series, but not every year. Use that same slot in other years for schools like Clemson (’13, ’14) and Ohio State (’20, ’21).

    That leaves room for 2 very tasty cupcakes. I guarantee you that most of our SEC brethren would regularly have 3 cupcakes a year.

    • I keep asking this: why would you want to drop an in state rival that you absolutely, positively own?

      Hell, I wish Georgia played Tech twice a year.

      • Hobnail_Boot

        Because that rival is still a lot more capable than the OOC schools that most other SEC schools play. Why willingly put yourself at a competitive disadvantage?

        If the SEC stays at 8 in-conference games, then by all means we should keep the nerds around.

        • Cojones

          I thought the name of this game was competition. Creaming a cupcake is embarrassing and not fit for celebration. Substituting tough D-1 schools into our OOC schedule is honorable and more exciting. If you fear the Ws won’t come, go and cheer a school that mops the floor with inferior teams each year.

          Wouldn’t you prefer smearing the deck with Big 10 schools each year and watch the ESPN talking heads gag on their material ? Putting a Texas in there every once in a while won’t hurt.

  11. Mayor of Dawgtown

    The very first thing that needs to be done is to get UGA out of the home and away contract with Clemson whereby we open up with Clemson in Athens in 2013 and then open up with Clemson at Death Valley in 2014. The 2014 schedule has as UGA’s first three games Clemson, Arkansas and South Carolina. That is a season killer if I ever saw one and is the handywork of old “Red Panties himself. The bad results we have had in recent years, particularly 2009, were as much about bad scheduling as anything else. That team was breaking in a new QB and never really had a chance to work out the kinks. Right off the bat they have to open up at Okie State at the stadium dedication of the Pokes’ new building. They really never recovered from the loss of confidence caused by that game. There is a reason why Florida schedules cupcakes early–to get the kinks worked out before the serious games are played. When DE got to be the AD we began doing everything ass backwards. I hope McGarity uses this expansion business as an opportunity to straighten out some of DE’s scheduling f*ck-ups.

    • Dog in Fla

      Another way of looking at it would be that there is absolutely no reason why consecutive games v. Clemson, Arkansas and South Carolina should be considered to be a murderers’ row for Georgia. Doubt that coaches like The Hat, Nick, or Big Game Bob would have a problem with a schedule like that and neither should Mark.

      • Macallanlover

        In fact, look at LSU’s September schedule and how that devastated them…all the way to the top of charts. Mayor is engaging in a little “defeatist thinking”, and that is far worse than playing the schedule he is so worried about. When we get to the SuperConferences, rankings will not be so significant. Win your division, and playoff for a legit National Title!

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          You’ve persuaded me–you’re right. Let’s bring back DE as AD. He sure did a good job, didn’t he? Actually, cut the BS and see my post several slots above. Let’s have everybody play everybody else and have a true SEC champion instead of this half-assed system we have now whereby who you play in large part determines who the champion is.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            BTW, in 2014 UGA gets Clemson, Arkansas, South Carolina, UT (which by then will probably have gotten out of the wasteland) and LSU–in the first 5 games. Yeah. Great scheduling.

          • Macallanlover

            I am OK with that. Every other athletic schedule includes all members of your league being on your schedule (NFL, MLB, HS football, etc.) makes for great entertainment, and a really, true champion. Getting past your continuing obsession with DE, I can buy that post….welcome aboard!

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        You misconstrue my meaning DIF. I have no problem playing those teams. I have a problem playing them right out of the box, 3 in a row, with no walkover games to work out the kinks. Are all of you guys just crazy? All the other major SEC teams who are our rivals (Bama, Florida, LSU, Auburn, USCe–who has now beaten us 2 years in a row) have tune-up games to see what they have and to make adjustments before playing their big games. UGA has a schedule in 2014 that not only has no tuneup games but plays the most difficult games at the beginning of the season against teams that (except for Clemson which must have an AD as nuts as DE was) have had (gasp!) tuneup games before playing UGA. We keep putting our kids behind the 8-ball and then we wonder why they don’t win more. Look in the mirror and you’ll see why.