It’s time for nine.

Nine conference games for SEC schools, that is.

Paul Westerdawg linked to a Paul Finebaum article ranking the SEC non-conference schedules. The rankings don’t interest me nearly as much as Finebaum’s overall sentiment that the fans are being cheated.

He’s right.

There are forty-eight out of conference games on the SEC’s slate in 2007 (four for each school, obviously). Finebaum uses a five star system to rate them, but for my purposes, it’s simpler to look at these games as falling into three categories.

  • Games against BCS conference opponents (14). Only three SEC schools play more than one game against this caliber of opponent – Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina. Florida State plays two SEC opponents.
  • Games against Conference USA “mid-major” schools (68). Conference USA isn’t a BCS conference, but it’s a conference that has a reasonable chance of having a school make it into the fifth BCS game, like Boise State in ’06 did. Tulane (not one of C-USA’s members that has a shot) plays two SEC schools.  [Corrected to add two games against Louisiana Tech, a proud member of the WAC.]
  • The remainder (2826). Directional schools, Sun Belt Conference schools, D 1-AA schools, “provisional” D-1 schools – they’re all lumped in here. Troy plays three SEC schools. Western Carolina, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette and Florida Atlantic appear on the schedules of two SEC teams. Some other names to get excited about include Gardner-Webb, Arkansas State, Tennessee Tech, Northwestern State, Richmond… you get the picture.

It’s time to limit the damage from this charade and add a ninth conference game to the schedule – another game rotating from the other division. With each SEC team averaging 2+ games a year against the third group, there’s plenty of slack to make this work. And while there may be a hit in the profits from losing a home game every other year, some of that would be made up by having a more attractive TV slate.

Most importantly, the fans deserve it.


UPDATE: “Chitlins” – another, similar view here.


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