Imagine there’s no SEC divisions…
… The SEC must persuade the NCAA to dump its requirements for a championship game. If that were to happen, the SEC could go to a divisionless format that would allow the league to protect the conference’s oldest rivalries and keep a good rotation going for non-permanent foes.
Without divisions, the SEC could simply pair the teams with the two best SEC records in its championship game. Forget the problem of having the two best teams in one division. Without divisions, the two top teams in the league would always reach Atlanta.
Oy. I know Pennington’s heart is in the right place – he’s trying to figure out a way to save traditional conference rivalries in the face of a fourteen-team league playing an eight-game conference schedule – but what he’s come up with is what I used to dislike about the Big Ten before it went divisional, on steroids. You wind up with a conference that’s too big to play round robin ball in the regular season, with all the issues that creates as to which school wins the regular season title, and you then make it worse in those years when there isn’t such a problem by requiring the team with the best regular season record to prove itself against a runner-up which doesn’t even have the justification of being a divisional champ as the basis for making a title game.
That sounds like what people just got through bitching about with the BCS title game, no?
Don’t blame Pennington, though. It’s a useful exercise to go through what he’s come up with. Nah, blame Mike Slive and the school officials he answers to for messing with a good thing in the name of jacking up the TV dollars. Particularly if the move to a seven-win qualification for bowl participation goes through, this round of SEC expansion is going to go down as awkward at best, because that will surely end the possibility of a nine-game conference schedule. The people running the show had best hope it’s not any worse.