You know, were I Les Miles or Steve Spurrier, I don’t think I’d waste my breath complaining about unbalanced conference scheduling. I’d be raising bloody murder about this, instead.
First, the SEC: The conference is only scheduled through the 2013 season, but McGarity said the hope is to have a scheduling plan for 2014-17 approved at the SEC meetings in Destin in early June.
Georgia can’t really do anything in its non-conference scheduling until it knows the dates and opponents for its SEC games over the next few years.
“We are basically on hold until we receive the SEC schedule for ’14 and beyond,” McGarity said. “Because hopefully that will have dates, and obviously opponents. So that we can start to plug in our (non-conference) opponents.”
And yes, it would be an eight-game schedule that will be approved in Destin.
Two years in and these guys still don’t have a scheduling gameplan in place. And the most they’re prepared to come up with in the short run is a three-year deal.
McGarity blames the SEC’s uncertainty on the new postseason…
There hasn’t been that much discussion about a nine-game schedule, according to McGarity, but it’s not something to rule out. It depends in large part on what comes out of the football playoff meetings.
“We continue to be educated on what the definition of strength of schedule means,” McGarity said. “What are other conferences doing in that regard. So there’s a lot of things to really discuss if we do go to a nine-game model. But we have not talked about that other than just in theory, to see what some models of that would look like.”
… but what if it’s something else? What if – and this is nothing more than perverse speculation on my part, mind you – this is what Slive and the ADs really want?
Put it this way: for a variety of reasons (seventh home game revenue for the ADs, easier OOC scheduling for the coaches, for starters), let’s say the conference wants to stick with an eight-game format. But Slive is running into real resistance from his TV partners about throwing more money into the broadcast deal without being given more product. If you won’t offer CBS and ESPN quantity, why not offer quality as a compromise by offering to rejigger the cross-division schedules on a regular basis in order to cherry pick the best East-West matchups? The best way to do that is by not getting too far ahead of things timewise. Sticking to a three-year framework should give the SEC a handle on which programs will likely be the most attractive viewing options.
If you’re a coach running a top ten conference program, this sort of arrangement would be a downer for your hopes of winning the SEC and maybe playing for something bigger. But it would make for better TV. Hmm… wonder who wins that battle.
Like I said, I have zero proof that this is what’s going on. But the sad thing is that I can’t totally dismiss it either. Call me crazy.