Yesterday’s post about the eight-game SEC schedule led to a mini-debate in the comments about how Georgia would be short-changing itself if it went to a nine-game conference schedule and kept the game against Florida in Jacksonville. The problem I have with the argument that it would be bad for Georgia is that it asks me to adopt a perspective that I shouldn’t be expected to take.
What I mean by that is that I’m not the AD. Nor the head coach. Nor the school president. I don’t spend money on Georgia football as an investment. It’s not a business decision for me. I’m a fan. College football is entertainment for me. That I should buy in to the idea that I’m supposed to spend my money in a way that benefits the program first, local businesses second and me third is just bizarre. If I go to a concert, I don’t appreciate the performance more knowing that the venue or the promoter is making a bigger profit. So why should I accept scheduling Charleston Southern on a Saturday in late November as something that’s good for me to spend my entertainment dollars on?
Even more than that, why am I supposed to accept the underlying premise for that – Greg McGarity’s scheduling dichotomy?
“While it might have been exciting to fans, it did not yield a championship,” McGarity said. “So one could argue that in order to put yourself in the best spot, what model works best.”
When it comes to the four games not against SEC opponents, I can have entertainment or I can have wins, but not both? Screw that. Why should Butts-Mehre not be held accountable for doing what it can to give me both? Why can’t McGarity share this perspective?
Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart was a proponent of the SEC moving to nine conference games, but that wasn’t the result of the vote.
He cited the changing dynamics on college football in an interview with The Sports Animal 99 in Knoxville, but has accepted the conference decision to stick with eight.
“I favored it because of the shift in the paradigm,” Hart said. “We haven’t had a year where we’re in a playoff mode. Strength of schedule remains to be seen just how strong the committee weight they will put. We think it will be considerable weight. Those who did not favor nine would argue that our strength of schedule is already very strong. There are other conferences that have gone to nine. … I just looked at it from a fan perspective and the changing paradigm in intercollegiate athletics and college football.
“I thought, the more meaningful games we could play moving forward, the better chance we would have to play in front of full stadiums, continue to play in front of great crowds, which this conference has been known for for many years.”
Most of the big issues college football faces right now involve us fans peripherally. But this one doesn’t. It’s about us and what we’re willing to put up with. I shouldn’t have to defend Dawg fans enjoying the entire Cocktail Party experience – damn, that’s a feature about Georgia football, not a bug. And I shouldn’t have to accept a pathetic 2015 home non-conference slate because that’s what McGarity thinks is in everyone’s best interest.
But maybe that’s just me. So here’s a reader poll. I’d also love to hear your comments about this. Particularly those of you spending your bread on Georgia football games.