“You also have to remember we play the SEC Championship Game.”

Judging from this article, a majority of Southeastern Conference athletic directors favor sticking with an eight-game conference schedule.  What’s interesting is that there isn’t a single mention in the article about television contracts being a motivating factor in the equation.  Instead, it’s almost all about the playoffs.

“I think we’ve done a really good job convincing the country that a one-loss SEC team deserves to play for the national title,” said Mississippi State Athletics Director Scott Stricklin, who supports eight games. “Are we going to be able to make the same argument for a two-loss team, which would happen more often (with nine games)?”

I think Stricklin’s missing the point there.  Greg McGarity, however, isn’t.

Said Georgia Athletics Director Greg McGarity: “The eight-game formula has served us well in the national championship discussion. Is that the right pattern moving forward? I think a lot of us think it is until proven differently.”

In other words, until they see proof that the conference is getting burned by the selection committee on the strength of schedule front, nobody’s inclined to do much of anything.

Which means we should expect scheduling to continue to be a season-by-season process.  And there’s something else we should continue to expect – a steady diet of cupcakes.  The recipe for those comes from the perfect combination of arrogance…

“I’m not worried about other schools playing nine games in their league. In some leagues, the bottom half of their league is cupcakes. So big deal you’re playing nine. You’re playing a cupcake anyway.”

… (because all cupcakes are equal, right?) and finances.

Gate revenue is also an argument made by some ADs for eight games. For Florida and Georgia, which annually play a neutral-site SEC game and an ACC rival that fluctuates home and away, nine SEC games would mean only six home games every other year.

“That’s a net loss of over $2 million what you generate every home game,” McGarity said. “So over a 10-year period, in today’s dollars, you’re leaving $10 to $11 million on the table.”

By negative implication, I assume that means Slive hasn’t been able to get the networks to pony up enough for the improved inventory a ninth conference game offers.

So expect Slive to be reactive instead of proactive on this front.  That means we’ll have plenty of SEC coaches bitching about scheduling for the foreseeable future.  And then even more bitching when one of them gets screwed out of a playoff spot.  Oh, goody for that.

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51 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

51 responses to ““You also have to remember we play the SEC Championship Game.”

  1. Doesn’t seem like anything is going Sir Nick’s way lately. Could Nicky be on the decline?
    ” DESTIN, Fla. — Nick Saban, that noted man of the people, arrived Tuesday at the SEC’s spring meetings with a message that will likely shame his fellow coaches into calling the Alabama coach nasty names only under their breath instead of out in public. Saban wants the SEC to adopt a schedule featuring nine conference games. Not for Alabama’s benefit, mind you.

    For yours.

    Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20130528/nick-saban-sec-scheduling/#ixzz2vHkc5Qyd

  2. Spence

    Georgia fans that are playoff advocates still bitch about the unfairness of Auburn in 2004 (which immediately disqualifies them from being Georgia fans in my book.) Point being, if you love playoffs, you really just love bitching.

  3. Mayor of Dawgtown

    McGarity’s right about losing $2 Mil every time you give up a home game and that’s what would happen in a 9 conference game situation every other year. Because of the WLOCP UGA struggles to have more than 6 home games a year already. The 9 conference game format would not help Georgia–it would hurt Georgia.

    • It’s a wash at worst if they make up for it in TV money.

      And as much as I know you like bashing on the CP, don’t forget it’s more profitable for UGA and UF than playing home-and-home.

      • Macallanlover

        That is just one of many things the Mayor doesn’t get about the valuable asset the WLOOCP represents for UGA. I think he must own one of the seedy local motels where they gouge on football weekends…..or he rents parking spaces around the downtown area.

      • cube

        It’s funny how McGarity constantly whines about only having 6 home games every other year if they go to a 9 game conference schedule but he conveniently leaves out the fact that the Florida game is worth more than a home game every other year. In reality, we would still have the equivalent of more than 7 home games every year.

        • Bob

          Either you want the game to remain in Jax or you don’t. But to have the AD complain that it is a factor while not doing anything to make it a home and home series is a joke.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Senator, when did you become just another money grubber like McGarity? It’s not just supposed to be about money, you know. Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (or whatever they are calling it this week) seats 74,000. Both the Swamp and Sanford Stadium seat about 90,000. That means by having the WLOCP in JAX 16,000 UGA and Florida fans get cut out of seeing their team play every other year. The current situation financially is good for Jacksonville which essentially bribes both teams to play there because of all the money that game brings to Jacksonville merchants. Personally, I don’t give a rat’s ass if Jacksonville merchants make money or not, do you? When are you going to realize that all us “rubes from Georgia” are being hoodwinked by the City of Jacksonville and go to a better arrangement? I guess if we did that then Mac couldn’t lease out his penthouse condo on Amelia Island for $5 grand that weekend, though.

        • McGarity’s right about losing $2 Mil every time you give up a home game and that’s what would happen in a 9 conference game situation every other year. Because of the WLOCP UGA struggles to have more than 6 home games a year already. The 9 conference game format would not help Georgia–it would hurt Georgia.

          But it’s not supposed to be about money, eh?

          Perhaps instead of being hoodwinked, Athens and Gainesville merchants could get together and bribe the schools into moving the game to a home and home basis. Maybe you could organize a campaign of rubes to push the effort.

          • reipar

            A campaign of rubes you say….what is Bielema doing next week?

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            My point was that it really doesn’t make sense financially for UGA if you take into account that the school loses 2 $ Mil every missed home game opportunity, PLUS the limitation on seats in JAX limits the number of Georgia fans who get to see the game? Why is that so hard for you to understand?

    • stoopnagle

      Of course, UGA pockets more every two years by playing in Jax than it would if UF were home-and-home, so I’m not real interested in the Jax angle somehow negatively impacting revenues. Surprised no one is calling McGarity out on that one.

      • Macallanlover

        I don’t think his comment was about the WLOOCP game, he knows we don’t lose under this arrangement.

  4. Otto

    I’m very much for the WLOCP staying in Jax, I’m also for the 8 game schedule. SEC teams make the BCS CG and will make the playoff. I would hate to see the depth issues with a 9 game SEC schedule. Other areas of the country may not believe it but I firmly believe even the easiest 8 game SEC schedule is tougher than 9 in any other conf.

    The one thing I would like to see change is every SEC team should face atleast 1 OOC game from a BCS Conf. or a regular BCS crasher. In UGA’s case I’d like to see UGA schedule another BCS conf. OOC game other than GT.

    • cube

      Are you saying you want us to replace GT with a different BCS-level opponent? Or are you saying that you want us to add a 2nd BCS-level opponent?

      • I think he’s saying what many believe is that Old-Fashioned Hate is no longer in fashion with a segment of the Georgia fan base (I’m not one of those by the way). I want to see the record of the Drought broken by the G-ood guys.

      • Otto

        2nd BCS level opponent

        • cube

          So you’re against another SEC game but for another OOC BCS-level game? Does that really make a lot of sense?

          And why do you want it to be required that every SEC team play at least 1 OOC BCS-level game and at the same time want us to schedule 2 of them? It’s like you want a level playing field but then want us to go above and beyond.

          • Otto

            Yes I am and it does. It gain respect across the SEC haters in a playoff debate. It expands recruiting target, and it is likely an easier win with few injuries.

            Why 1 for everyone in the SEC but 2 for UGA? Because GT is a mid pack ACC team which translate to almost the level of a mid major. GT more years than not will be behind Clemson and FSU.

            • cube

              “it is likely an easier win with few injuries”

              It sounds like you want a middle of the pack team from one of the other major conferences. I guess that could help us in a playoff debate more than another conference game…I don’t know. You’ve given me something to ponder.

              Set up home-and-homes with Virginia, TCU, and North Carolina? We recruit North Carolina already and it would be nice to pluck a few from the Virginia Beach and Dallas areas.

              Regardless, anything would be better than the 3 cupcake setup we’re about to be force fed starting next year.

    • In UGA’s case I’d like to see UGA schedule another BCS conf. OOC game other than GT.

      Why would you want to give up an OOC game against a team from a major conference that your current coach wins at a 92% clip? While Tech is not FSU, they’re not Wake Forest either. Playing them every year generally doesn’t hurt UGA’s schedule..

      • Russ

        Plus it’s just so much fun to hear their whining every year.

        And +1 on breaking the drought record one year.

  5. If the SEC goes to 9 conference games, forget about any out-of-conference, home-and-home games with quality opponents. Cupcakes for everybody!

    Let’s face it. This round of conference expansion was poorly thought out, poorly executed, and poorly managed by the suits in Birmingham. Now, we all have to pay the price. 12 was good enough. Texas A&M was a good fit, but I will never understand why $live went after Missouri without support to realign the divisions if he couldn’t pick off a real southEASTern school to balance TAMU.

    • Connor

      It’s not like UGA has been playing Michigan, Texas, USC and the like in out of conference games a lot anyway. If we went to 9 conference games there would be more home and homes with LSU, Bama and A&M, which is probably more compelling fare than we’d schedule on our own. The only thing we sort of have going on now that we might give up would be the sporadic Clemson series. .

      • My point is would you rather play Clemson, UNC, NC State or Virginia Tech every year as opposed to Missouri. We had enough Tigers in the SEC before 2012.

    • Bob

      That is fine, except in the eyes of our AD, we aren’t going to be playing another OOC major opponent outside of Tech except on rare occasions. At least with a 9th game, we are going to play 10 BCS level teams…which is one more than we will do with McGarity’s Gatorized schedule.

      It is laughable…completely laughable that you can spend so much time worrying about students in seats, playing loud and obnoxious music, adding wi-fi and a bazillion other things and still schedule the Coastal Carolina’s of this world and then wonder WHY? Dumber than dirt.

      • It is laughable…completely laughable that you can spend so much time worrying about students in seats, playing loud and obnoxious music, adding wi-fi and a bazillion other things and still schedule the Coastal Carolina’s of this world and then wonder WHY? Dumber than dirt.

        Not as long as we keep buying all the season tickets.

        • reipar

          We have always played cupcakes. I know when I was in school we played at least two every year. I do not recall the problem with the students not going to the games like exists now. Maybe it is because the game was on PPV and you had to go to the Georgia Theater if you did not go to the game, or maybe we did not have anything to distract us as there was no social media aside from sitting in the stadium with your friends.

          At any rate I do not see how cupcakes can be the sole reason for declining student attendance.

      • The main reason for the lack of student attendance to me is that there are zero places now for students to tailgate due to all of the restrictions that are Il Duce’s legacy. We set up our tailgate at the corner of Jackson and Baldwin back in the day and broke it down in plenty of time to get to the game on time. Now students have to find somewhere to park, carry their supplies somewhere on North Campus, set it up, break it down, carry it back to the car, and walk to the stadium. No wonder they can’t/don’t show up on time.

  6. “This round of conference expansion was poorly thought out, poorly executed, and poorly managed by the suits in Birmingham. Now, we all have to pay the price.” Change a couple of words here and there and it sounds as if you are talking about the current health care law.

    • +1 – well played, AHD

      • Otto

        It was a wise move for TV $$, and expending the talent base for recruiting. But yes the planning was short. I have little problem with facing teams in the other division less often with the exception of the permanent cross division games such as UGA/Aub and Bama/UT which should remain protected.

        • My only point was Missouri was a terrible move. Slive botched the TV deal and is hoping an SEC Network bails him out. What got added in recruiting? Texas. Good for LSU, Arkansas, possibly the Mississippi schools, and Alabama but lousy for the rest of us. Texas is never going to become a talent pipeline state to schools in the East. UGA, UF, USCe, UTK, and Auburn are going to look to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, the Carolinas, and Tennessee to feed their programs just as always. For recruiting, a better option than Missouri would have been to go to North Carolina or Virginia.

          I get the Texas A&M move. The school is an SEC school in every sense of the word. Talent base, national alumni, and TV eyeballs all are there. The Missouri move will never be a good fit for the SEC. They should be in the Big 12 or Big 10 with their natural rivals, the Kansas schools.

  7. stoopnagle

    Hey Greg: if you feed me Pac-12 and ACC cupcakes, I’m more likely to show up. It makes no sense, but UGA v Wake holds more appeal to me than UGA v Coastal Carolina.

    • 69Dawg

      +1 Ah ACC cupcakes GT is magically delicious.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      The problem with that is Wake would want a return engagement in Winston-Salem, which would screw up Georgia’s home game schedule that year. Coastal Carolina just wants to show up for the money.

      • Otto

        I was thinking more games like Okie Lite, Az State, Colorado etc. I don’t like the ACC getting more access to recruiting Georgia, and would thus not schedule more ACC game, a home and away with Clemson once a decade is enough.

      • The other Doug

        I think WF would come to Athens for $1 million. Hell, GT played AT Middle Tennessee State. The bottom half of the ACC is desperate for money.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          You know ToD, that’s a GREAT idea. Offer the bottom ACC teams $$ to come to Athens for a one-shot game–$1 Mil per game. Wake, NC State, Boston College, Pitt–they just might take it..

  8. Cosmic Dawg

    Just for argument’s sake – if we voluntarily stopped scheduling any cupcakes except semi-dangerous teams like Georgia Southern, Virginia, etc, would we simply suffer more losses, more injuries, and fewer chances to heal broken players, or after 3-4 years of a schedule like that, would we have a team that had learned to get up for every game and had been battle tested week in and week out their entire career and a reputation as the baddest, most courageous program in the country? Recruiting bonus or negative?

  9. A10Penny

    As soon as an 8-game schedule is used against an SEC team by the committee, I think we will see a change. Extra TV $$ already is going to lead us down that road and we just need a little shove.