There’s only one meaningful tradition in today’s SEC.

It’s the one Roy Kramer inaugurated in 1992:  configuring the conference to maximize television revenues.  And, my friends, that sacred tradition lives on today.  In fact, “lives on” may be selling Mike Slive short.  “Thrives” may be a more accurate description.  Just ask SEC TV hatchet man consultant Larry Templeton.

Television networks want more attractive SEC football games to start and finish seasons in the future, SEC consultant Larry Templeton said.

That will be among the topics discussed when SEC athletics directors meet in February to create 14-team schedules for 2013 and beyond. The major issues remain whether to keep permanent cross-divisional opponents and how to rotate the other cross-divisional game.

Templeton, a former Mississippi State athletics director who heads the SEC’s transition team since the league expanded, said the ADs will also discuss whether to schedule more conference games in the first two weeks and last two weeks of seasons.

“TV wants them,” Templeton said. “For instance, right now the next-to-last weekend of the season is a real weak weekend for us as it relates to games that we want to put on television as part of our conference package. Now that we have more games, we need to space some of them more.”

But wait!  As they say in those cheezy ShamWow commercials, there’s more!  Take it away, Larry:

… TV factors into future SEC scheduling in another way. Assuming the SEC stays at eight conference games and wants to keep permanent partners for every team, it would take 12 years to play every cross-division team twice compared to five years right now. That’s a longer wait for TV to broadcast some high-profile games such as Alabama-Florida and Auburn-Florida.

Templeton continues to float the idea of eliminating round-robin schedules within divisions to create flexibility for more cross-divisional games.  [Emphasis added.]  To stage a conference championship game, NCAA rules require leagues to have two divisions of six or more schools that play round-robin within their division.

If the SEC decided to pursue changing that rule, Templeton said the conference would have to vote at the league’s spring meetings in late May to sponsor NCAA legislation. “I don’t know if any other conferences have any desire to do that,” he said. “I don’t know if our ADs want to do that. I think it’s something we ought to look at.”

Divisions without round robin scheduling… what’ll they think of next?  The step after that would simply be to outsource scheduling to the networks and let them pick which schools play on a week to week basis.  Or the SEC could auction off the weekly schedule to the highest bidder.   (I probably shouldn’t be giving Templeton any ideas.)

Somewhere along the way, you begin to wonder what the existence of a conference is about, other than having an address to where CBS can mail the checks.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

27 responses to “There’s only one meaningful tradition in today’s SEC.

  1. Castleberry

    It really looks like they went “Ready, Fire, Aim” with this conference expansion. My guess is that the ADs will eventually cave on the nine game schedule.

    Let the SC fans figure out how to account for the extra home / road game in standings.


  2. timphd

    Just imagine the outcry from USCe if UGA got a won the East without even having to play them! If they whine now about schedule fairness, what would they do with that scenario?

    Guess we have to face it, it is the money driving the bus now, not the game itself. I would truly hate to lose UGA/Allbarn and not play Bama and/or LSU but every 12 years but it looks like that is where we are headed.


    • I would just love for UGA ‘NOT HAVE TO’ play Bama/LSU but every 12 years, & hey SEC, please could you maybe spread it out even longer; “Like Maybe Never?”


  3. Ben

    One of the reasons I never worked up lots of contempt for Alabama or LSU growing up was because we didn’t play them regularly enough to build up that hate. If such a schedule comes about where my child will not grow up in a time when UGA plays Auburn every year and both of them begin to romanticize the UGA/AU rivalry the way I’ve romanticized the UGA/Clemson rivalry, I won’t know how to explain to them about the goods and evils in this world, except to point to the SEC officials who let this happen.


  4. fuelk2

    I am sorry to see the dilution of Southern football happen before my eyes.


  5. Nate Dawg

    So yall know we’re gonna loose that barner rivalry game, right?


  6. Dog in Fla

    In other news, the hatchet man article links to a Nickelodeon marathon in which an apex predator takes advantage of the cat in The Hat


  7. Joe Mayo

    If you care about maintaining the Georgia-Auburn, Alabama-Tennessee, and Florida-LSU rivalries, you should be all for a 9 game conference schedule.

    I know most people understand this but I think some don’t.


    • Cojones

      Agree. Brings me to ask if anyone knows where to get a copy or where to download the UGA/AU game, 2011. My Vet (UGA Vet School Degree) told me today that he had copies of all interested games except that one, that he and his wife had searched the internet to no avail. Seems I remember someone else asking the same question and getting an answer on here. Any help or steering?

      He did a great piece of surgery on Priscilla’s ACL this week and she will be back to her alpha female bitchery soon. I would like to show thanks and have already bragged on gtp readership knowhow.


    • Macallanlover

      To simplify this even further, if you care about CFB at all you should favor a nine game conference schedule. There is just no logic to being against more/better games to watch. If we could have ten, I would also be in favor of that, especially if we continue to waste Saturdays on cupcake games. The season is precious, and I have too few Saturdays left to waste watching the Utah State, Western Kentucky, etc. slaughters.


  8. AusDawg85

    Pandora, your box is open!

    Go ahead, assure me that Slive would not manipulate Bammer’s schedule with all of the lower tier conference foes to be certain they have a clear path to the SECCG (or whatever results in its place) if the gods of TV so requested.

    FInebaum just got a tingly feeling all down his leg…


  9. Connor

    I still think that the only reason they aren’t going to 9 games right now is that they want another excuse to open up contract negotiations in 3 or 4 years. TV is going to demand that inventory in the near future. I hope.


    • 81Dog

      and to the suits at the networks, that’s all we are: Inventory. College games are a bridge for car, beer and electronics commercials. Advertisers get rich, the networks get rich, the athletic departments get rich, and the people who actually show up for games? We get the shaft.

      “SEC Football: Making Money Like We Have a Printing Press, Bitches!”


    • Gravidy

      Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Only I think the TV renegotiation will occur sooner than 3-4 years from now.

      Those Templeton quotes about TV wanting more good quality games at the beginning and end of the season are misleading at best. They don’t want better quality games only at those times. They want better quality games all season long – hence the near certainty of a nine game schedule.

      The SEC brass aren’t concerened about the hardships associated with going to a ninth conference game. They are concerned about giving it up for free.


      • Sanford222View

        I think they do have some concern over a 9 game conference schedule in that it could make it harder for the SEC to get 2 teams into the BCS Bowl games or whatever restructured BCS system is developed in the future. That extra game is an extra opportunity for the conference to beat up on itself. That extra BCS money gained by getting two teams into the BCS most years is not something they want to leave on the table.


        • FCDore

          I think that’s a great point, unless the TV folks are willing to pony up enough extra TV money to more than compensate for the risk of not having a second BCS game. Also, given the SEC’s reputation, a 2 or 3-loss SEC team that meets whatever minimum qualifications a revamped BCS system has will still be chosen over the Boise States of the world.


  10. FCDore

    I go back to the Daily Gamecock article in which the USC president was speaking as if the Presidents had already decided on a nine-game schedule.
    Sounds like it has been discussed at levels above the ADs pay grades, and I’m guessing (as stated above) that this will be a major part of the next round of TV negotiations. How much extra money do the Presidents/Slive think is enough to warrant the extra conference game, knowing that the Pac 12 and Big 12 are already doing it?


  11. Scott W.

    Swap one Tiger for another. Tigers is tigers, y’all.


  12. paul

    “Somewhere along the way, you begin to wonder what the existence of a conference is about, other than having an address to where CBS can mail the checks.” I think you hit the nail on the head there. Unfortunately.


  13. I believe your all missing a very important point here. Yes the season ticket holders are getting screwed, the athletes are getting screwed ,great southern football traditions are getting destroyed,blah .blah blah ,blah blah….I as a proud owner of numerous sham-wows, I want to know where GTP gets off referring to the Sham-wow commercials as cheesy?


  14. G-Man

    16 teams, 4 divisions, conf semi finals and championship games.

    round robin within each division (3 games)
    div a and div b play (similar to NFL) (4 games)
    1 game left over to fill any rivalries (or TV inventory) not met by the above.