This neatly sums up why Les Miles, Steve Spurrier and all the others who dismiss the need for games like Auburn-Georgia to stay on the SEC schedule can kindly kiss my ass:
To those outside of “Deep South” and “Third Saturday,” it’s a common gripe that in order for those four teams to enjoy their games annually, the rest of the conference is saddled with contrived rivalries like Mississippi State vs. Kentucky or Florida vs. LSU, a game that often creates a disadvantage in strength of schedule for those two teams. If cross-divisional opponents were eliminated in an eight- or nine-game schedule, that would mean more frequent marquee match-ups like Georgia vs. LSU or Texas A&M vs. Florida, and less of Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt.
This particular streak has been especially humbling: Saban is undefeated against Tennessee since arriving in Tuscaloosa, outscoring UT 204-65 since 2007. So why should the conference at large cater to a lopsided affair, especially with a future network and potential playoff committee consideration in the balance?
“And do what, get rid of it, not play it?” asks Michael Hartley, a Tennessee fan from “south of Knoxville” in line to see Saban speak in Athens. He’s here with his girlfriend, a lifelong Alabama fan who’s parking the car at the moment.
“Hell no. I mean, I hate ‘em worse than anybody. But not playing it’s worse than losing.”
I know my opinion on the matter means nothing, but if conference expansion means losing games like these, I’d just as soon see the SEC go back to twelve teams. In any event, giving up these rivalries is like surrendering a piece of your soul. And today’s SEC is soulless enough as it is.