Daily Archives: May 20, 2012

(Nine-) Game over.

Tennessee AD Dave Hart makes it sound as if the fix is in on the SEC’s conference football schedule.

Q: What would be your input as Tennessee athletic director about expanding to nine SEC games in football and to 18 games in basketball to have more contact in the rivalries?

A: I’m in a minority there. We talked about everything. We didn’t leave anything off the table. We have very open, good conversations. At the end of the day, the great thing about our league is sometimes people have to forego their personal preference for the betterment of the league as a whole. We’re not going to play nine games, at least not initially, and maybe never. I understand why coaches wouldn’t like it. I wouldn’t either. It’s the 5-4 (home-away) that’s so very difficult and I totally understand that. Having said that, I hope that we’ll keep that on the table for meaningful discussion purposes down the road.

They can keep talking about going to nine games all they want, but unless it’s costing them money, I doubt they’ll change it.

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Ode to quarterback development

Chris Low, you little devil.

… The 2012 season has a chance to be one of the best in recent memory for SEC quarterbacks… Murray has thrown 59 touchdown passes in his first two seasons, and he also has one of the more talented backups in the league in sophomore Hutson Mason…

It’s a possible meme two-fer:  more of that SEC, Year of the Quarterback stuff, but that’s the first pundit love for Mason I think I’ve seen.  We’re only a step away from Uncle Verne’s “he’s waited his turn patiently”.

You know whom I blame for this.

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You’re too good, you’re too good, you’re too good, baby, you’re too good.

Shorter Seth Emerson:  Jarvis, you’d be more important if you weren’t as great a player as you are.

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Steven, we really don’t have time for this right now.

As a power play, Slive’s move to arrange a Rose Bowl counterpart succeeds on a number of levels with other conferences and with the networks.  But it’s going to have an impact on the SEC meetings in Destin coming up soon, as well.  At least as far as Steve Spurrier is concerned.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier rarely comes to the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla., empty handed. Last year, he used the opportunity to propose that coaches should be allowed to pay into a fund that would go to the players. (Which conveniently minimized the headlines for another bout of Stephen Garcia-reinstatement-related drama.) This year, Spurrier has a more practical idea to discuss.

He thinks the SEC should choose its division champions in football based on division record instead of overall conference record. “Your division champ should be decided on division games. Last year, it wasn’t fair for Tennessee and Florida,” Spurrier said. “They both played LSU and Alabama. Us and Georgia didn’t. So, us or Georgia almost had to win the division simply because of the schedule.”

Good luck on getting anyone to pay attention to that, Coach Evil (Genius).  The new bowl game – more accurately, the implications of the new bowl game – is likely to dominate the discussions.  And what time isn’t spent on that is going to be directed towards another big subject.

“What’s going to take the day is discussion on the conference’s position on the four-team playoff,” SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom said this past week. “The commissioners were charged with going back to their conferences, with each conference stating a position on their preference. There will be a lot of discussion on that.”

It sounds like there will be plenty of that.

Whether the SEC concurs with the Big Ten proposal remains to be seen, but the SEC no longer appears to be fighting the suggestion that all four teams must be conference champions.

“What if the No. 1 team, the No. 7 team, the No. 11 team and the No. 17 team happened to be conference champions?” Alabama coach Nick Saban said recently in Mobile. “You are not really getting the top four teams. If you look at all the years when we’ve had issues with who plays in the championship game, there is an odd team that is left out.

“In 2003, when I was at LSU, USC got left out. Auburn got left out when they were undefeated [in 2004]. Those are the times when people start screaming.”

I’m impressed he noticed.

Seriously, that’s some very major stuff to hash through.  Add to that the decision about the size of the conference schedule and you’ve got a very full plate for the SEC.  Slive has effectively buried Spurrier’s lede, so to speak.

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