Flawed premise

Contrary to what Tommy Hicks suggests, it’s not tradition that keeps the SEC from going down the same division-dropping road in football that it has in basketball.  It’s the overall postseason format for each sport which is responsible for that.

In basketball, the SEC tourney is just a means to an end, the end being March Madness.  It’s the culmination of the seeding-delivery system which the regular season has become.  It’s most important function is to support the RPI of its highest rated teams.

Football, however, doesn’t share those goals because of the single-game winner-take-all BCS title game.  (The current format for participation in the SECCG also generates the added benefit of virtually assuring that there will be two SEC teams in BCS games every year.)

Put it this way:  if D-1 football ever adopts an extended playoff, you’ll see the SEC ditch tradition shortly afterwards for the same reason it’s done so with basketball.

8 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

8 responses to “Flawed premise

  1. Stoopnagle

    I’m sure some of our league-mates down south will appreciate something created in the early 90’s described as “tradition.”

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  2. How do you think a playoff would affect the number of conference games every year? Back in the Old Old Days the conference only played 6 games among 10 teams. A true round robin of 11 games would be disastrous for NCAA tournament seedings in football (i.e., the conference teams would pile up losses playing each other and get fewer teams in the tournament, the difference from basketball being there will be fewer teams that make the NCAA football tournament). Could a football tournament lead to fewer conference games, so teams could fatten up on midmajors and cannon fodder, and amass a huge winning percentage? If you have an 8-team or 12 or more football tournament, who could leave out an 11-1 Alabama team even if their schedule was chock-full-o’-cupcakes? Have computers decide based on RPI or some such? Wasn’t the BCS supposed to do that?

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    • The problem with fattening up on cupcakes in your scenario is that RPI takes a hit and with it a risk to postseason seeding. So, no, I doubt there would be a reduction in conference games.

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  3. As always it depends on how the playoffs are structured. But no matter how the playoffs/tournament is structured, all of the conferences will game the system as much as they can possibly get away with (and probably more) to get as many teams in the tournament as possible (which is your point in the post, I understand).

    I can hear the discussion at the conference office now….”how does it help the SEC get 3-4 teams into the 12 team playoff system to have Florida and LSU play each other every year?” As you’ve said before, there are millions of $ at stake getting that extra conference team in the tourney.

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  4. Keese

    Well couldn’t the same be said for putting an undefeated team in the SEC championship under the current format?

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  5. Judgedawg

    Lord, sportswriters rarely know what they write about. NCAA rules only permit a football championship game for conferences consisting of 12 or more schools divided into divisions. The SEC expanded and divided into divisions for football for the sole reason of having a championship game. The SEC wanted a championship game for the sole reason of generating money. It isn’t an 18 year “tradition” that keeps the league in divisions for football it is the financial value of the SECCG and the rules permitting it.

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