What is this nine-game conference schedule you speak of?

If, like me, you think a fourteen-team SEC has to go to a nine-game conference schedule to preserve a passing familiarity between schools in opposing divisions, Greg McGarity isn’t exactly giving a lot of warm and fuzzies on the subject.

QUESTION: The SEC schedule: How close are we?

ANSWER: Well, we meet in Birmingham (this) week. So hopefully we’ll have more information from the conference office at that point in time. But there’s still a lot of uncertainty and it’s becoming crunch time to where we really need to know what the schedule is as we move forward and start our planning for next year.

QUESTION: I know there’s a lot of moving parts. Is anything set as far as Georgia?

ANSWER: No, nothing is really set. We really don’t know who we play in the West (Division). We’ve just got to find out exactly the piece of the puzzle there, because of with the institutions involved. You’ve just got to try to make everyone pleased and I think the discussions have not been centered around who plays who in the conference. The discussion has been in your non-conference opponents, and dates and things of that nature. You don’t see a bunch of athletics directors upset with who they play in their conference. There’s a lot of uncertainty with the non-conference scheduling piece, the date changes and things like that.

QUESTION: With Missouri coming in the East, is that at least a game that is set?

ANSWER: We’ll know for sure (this) week. I don’t think I can sit here and say anything’s a certainty, other than we know we’ll definitely be playing the other SEC teams in the East that we’ve been playing before.

QUESTION: Auburn, too?

ANSWER: Hopefully they would be our traditional rival in the West. So I’m hoping that stays as is.

I see.  He’s hoping that Georgia’s longest standing conference rivalry will survive the SEC’s latest rush for dollars.  Color me comforted.

But at least they’re being wise stewards over the mess they’ve created.  Yessir:

QUESTION: Would going to nine conference games work back into it at some point?

ANSWER: No. That has not even been discussed, and I don’t think it will even be brought back up. I think schools have already scheduled out as far as 2016, so having to break those contracts … a lot of money (is) run up in liquidated damages if either school pulls out of a game. I will never say never, but right now, there has been no discussion of any nine-game schedule.  [Emphasis added.]

Heaven forbid having to stroke a check to East Cupcake A & M because the fans might want to see Georgia play Alabama more often than Georgia Southern.  Although I suppose I should give McGarity credit for at least having the decency not to concoct some bullshit story about how this is actually good for the fans.

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36 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

36 responses to “What is this nine-game conference schedule you speak of?

  1. gastr1

    When the entire season is a playoff, the parts of the schedule you can control demand keeping as many East Cupcakes on the schedule as you can.

  2. I guess the decision was easier to drop Louisville since Chick-fil-a paid the $600k buyout plus we received $1.7MM to play the game.

    More and more it looks like the addition of TAMu, and to a lesser extent Mizzou, was a knee jerk reaction to the changes in the college football landscape. It doesn’t appear much foresight was used to anticipate the impact on the conference scheduling.

    I agree with the logic of expanding to the markets they chose. I just wish they would suck it up now and do what is necessary with the schedules.

    I like tradition as much as the next guy, but I think if you want change then you have to accept that change will affect some long standing rivalries.

  3. Lrgk9

    Gotta go with the landscape. Still think Va Tech and NC State end up with SEC eventually.

    • DarrrenRovelll

      +1. My prediction as well. SEC still needs those tv markets.

      • Bob

        Won’t happen. UVA and VT come as a packet. You get both or you get neither. And UVA would never stoop down to associate with the Mississippi State’s of this world. VT will not be coming.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Likewise I do not really see NC State leaving UNC, Duke and Wake because of the basketball rivalry.

        • MinnesotaDawg

          Probably won’t happen, but not b/c UVa & VT come as a package deal. That idea comes from the political wrangling by VT to get into ACC (the VT coaches, admin., and fans were desperate to get out of the Big East). Virginia politicians, hearing their constituents (a large number of whom are VT graduates and supporters) used their leverage to make that happen. UVa folks were ambivalent at best.
          So who’s going to raise a stink if VT wants to go to the SEC? Not those same politicians who will support whatever the VT admin and rank-and-file want to do. Not UVa or it’s supporters, who frankly, still don’t think that VT is a true ACC team, believe it is academically superior to VT and looks for every opportunity to make that distinction, and don’t have or really want SEC aspirations.
          Virginia Tech to the SEC probably won’t happen because Frank Beamer and VT fans don’t really want it to happen. They’re quite content in the place that they are–double digit wins each year, pretty much owning the conference since their admission, collecting fat BCS bowl checks along with steady income streams from a stable conference, and rubbing UVa’s face in it. Beamer is one of the most, if not the most, powerful man at VT, so he’ll certainly have a say in such a decision. I don’t think he’d give up the known comfort of the ACC and its friendly schedule to duke it out in the SEC as he nears the twilight of his career.

  4. SouthGa Dawg

    The SEC will stay with an 8 game conference schedule. The coaches are not going for the 9 game schedule at this time. The problem still remains that some school reach for good out-of-conference games such as UGA (Boise, Ok. St., Az. St., Ohio State coming up) whereas some schools continue to schedule bottom dwellers year after year (Florida). Schools should be held accountable by the league office for their OOC scheduling. There should be at least one appealing OOC game every year on the schedule.

    • JasonC

      I wonder if after they sort out the mess for next year and the coming 3-4 years if they will set the 9 game schedule in place to prevent future scheduling problems.

  5. Dante

    While I really didn’t oppose expansion, I really hate this Missouri-in-the-East scenario. That’s going to potentially leave us with two consecutive long road trips in the middle of our conference schedule. I can just the SEC sticking us with something like this:

    1. Cupcake
    2. SCAR
    3. Cupcake
    4. at Mizzou
    5. at Arkansas
    6.Tennessee
    ….

    And then all of a sudden that Tennessee game gets a whole lot harder.

    • gastr1

      When you are trying to expand your global brand because you are a college football megabehemoth seeking world domination, geographic contiguity be damned.

  6. travis

    Oh wow. 9 games not even on the table … I vote we drop next years bama game. Beyond the overall ridiculousness of protecting a cupcake game over a rivalry, think of the year to year scheduling. Inequity inherent in this plan.

  7. DarrrenRovelll

    We will eventually see a 9 game schedule but it will take probably a couple of more seasons. Also, the league will need to add two more teams to get to 16 and then the total number of games in a season increased to 13.

  8. 79dawg

    This is totally asinine.

    On one hand, you have a rivalry that is over 120 years old (same goes for Bama-Tenn), in a sport where passionate rivalries are what have built the sport (particularly in the South).

    On the other hand, there is the chance to (maybe?) gain $3MM more per year per team from your TV contract, and the “right” to have 3 cupcake home games a year.

    There is no place in the world I would rather be on a Saturday afternoon in the fall than Sanford Stadium, but McGarity should count himself lucky that he has people actually pay almost $150 per ticket (which is the “all-in” price after a decent Hartman Fund donation) to watch us beat the snot out of Coastal Carolina or New Mexico State or Eastern Wherever the Hell. Taking our oldest (and many would say biggest) rival off the schedule isn’t going to make me more likely to write that check.

    If this is all about money, why don’t we expel Vandy and the Mississippi schools and make a hard run at the top half of the ACC? I just cannot believe that the powers that be at Georgia and Auburn, or Alabama and Tennessee didn’t approve all this expansion without making sure these rivalries would be preserved and sacrified them at the altar of expansion.

    Just another slide down the long slippery slope (it seems we’re getting closer to the bottom everyday) that will lead I-A “college football” to truly being just the NFL developmental league….

  9. Macallanlover

    What kind of leadership is this? How can you not have discussed the 9 team conference schedule? It is one of the options, so are we being lied to or could that many ADs/Prezs and conference staff actually sit in a room and not have that discussion? I think the former. If not, this group has the IQ of Congress and should be replaced.

    Doesn’t matter that I favor the expansion of the conference schedule and better games; if they haven’t talked about it, they are the only ones who have had any thoughts on this subject that haven’t considered an expanded conference schedule as an option. Come on guys, give us honest answers and some rationale for your decisions. It is the fans who pay your salaries and bring in those revenues.

  10. In the BCS system, a 9 game conference schedule would be a bad idea.

    Until we get a playoff, you gotta have 3 cupcakes.

  11. Mayor of Dawgtown

    I still favor kicking Arkansas, South Carolina and now Texas A&M and Missouri out of the SEC and going to a schedule where every SEC team plays every other SEC team each year. It is the only way to determine a true conference champion. But the the SEC wouldn’t have the SECCG as a cash cow then, would it? It’s always all about the $$$$$$.

  12. Unfortunately the SEC as far as I know still is in the USA and not USSR where corporate profit is paramount over the masses(fans).

    • Macallanlover

      Hate to tell you but:

      1. The USSR doesn’t exist any more.
      2. Corporate profits are great for the masses (allows growth, builds new industries, invests in research which creates new products and more jobs, supports community needs/charities, reduces the tax base, etc, etc.)
      3. Don’t think the members of the SEC are corporations, specifically in a profit sense. The SEC office may be but the member institutions approve all rules and actions (supposedly).

      • Vladimir Putin

        1.The USSR still exists. We just changed the name. 2. Corporate profits are why we in the USSR changed our name. We are now acting just like the U.S. and the U.S. is acting just like us. 3. This SEC of which you speak, it sure acts like other moneymaking tools of the establishment that we have in Russia. Can we borrow it for soccer?

  13. Blue Dawg

    Move UK and Mizzou to the west and bring Auburn and Bama to east. Problem solved.

  14. Go Dawgs!

    Bringing in these teams was a hasty and poorly planned thing, as UGAFoo points out. They’d best leave the Auburn rivalry alone. It sucks that we won’t get to see many of the west teams anymore, but if they take away the UGA-Auburn game, I will be truly displeased.

    • What, the part about how Georgia fans think changing the schedule is going to be the magic trick that ensures the ten-game win streak against the ‘Cocks that you’re so clearly entitled to? Or the part about how Georgia fans are perplexed that Florida, a team that has owned Georgia for the past 20 years, has a better record against the ‘Cocks than Georgia over the past 20 years? Yeah, I’d say that both of those facts are fairly comical.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        The Cocks have a better record against Florida than the Dawgs the past 20 years. So….when are you guys going to start playing them in Jacksonville every year?

        • You guys have a better record against them by one game. You’ve beaten them four times in the last twenty years to our three. All three of our wins have come during Spurrier’s tenure, once in his first year and then the last two years.

          At any rate, I really don’t think playing at JAX is unfair to you. It always seems like there are equal numbers of fans from both sides. Plus, you don’t have to play them in Gainesville, where they enjoy one of the nation’s biggest home-field advantages.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            Ask Bama and FSU about the Gator “Swamp” advantage in their games in Gainesville this past season. Sure, the Gators have an advantage there when they play Vandy, Furman, Florida Atlantic and the like.

            • They don’t have an advantage there right now because they suck and aren’t capable to playing with good teams. When they were good, they definitely had a great advantage there.

              • Of course, that’s really only another way of saying that all the talk about home-field advantages, scheduling, etc., is a bit of a smoke screen. The better team wins football games more often than not. The rest of the discussion is just the loser trying to rationalize.

                • Mayor of Dawgtown

                  Sticking with the “Swamp” advantage myth, Ole Miss beat the Gators there in ’09. Mississippi State beat them there at least 3 times in the last 10 years or so (one of those caused Zook to get fired). There is no advantage in the “Swamp,” just a bunch of drunk yuppies trying to act superior and showing their collective asses instead. You are right about 1 thing though: When the Gators are better than the team they are playing they are hard to beat anywhere–home or away. That’s why they have such a good record at the “Swamp.” They fill out their home schedule mostly with cupcakes. When the SEC forces them to play a real team there–not so much.

  15. smblues

    In my mind, leaving out balance of the division etc, the two current cross divisional rivalry games you have to preserve are Bama-Tenn and UGA-Auburn. Everything else is up for debate.

    Would I like to see us play different west teams more? Certainly. But with a 14+ team league and the need to play every team in your division that just isnt possible. And in many ways that is fine with me.

    6-1-1 works and gives more importance to the SEC championship. 6-1-1 also preserves all the games worth preserving including LSU-UF. Nine games or mixing up the divisions just leads to lots of imbalance and non conference stagnation.

    6-1-1 only serves to increase the importance of the SEC championship and preserves the tradition. Yes it means that Bama-UGA doesnt happen very often and the Sorority bowl of UGA-Ole miss doesnt happen much either but whatever.

    Why are people against 6-1-1?

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Why doesn’t the SEC just split into 2 conferences and the 2 champions play each other at the end in kinda like an SEC Super Bowl? We could still play Auburn as an OOC game each year it just wouldn’t count in the standings. Same with the UT-Bama game. Screw playing teams from the other side. It just gets in the way of what everybody really wants–more cupcakes.

      • smblues

        At 16 teams that is the practical solution.

        Cupcakes serve a purpose both ways as essentially the way the system is now that is now those games are the only thing keeping certain programs afloat.