How pure a knee-jerk response is this?
Not surprisingly, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive opposes Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott’s suggestion of a football “plus one” championship game after the bowl season.
Slive said today the plus-one would narrow the postseason “in a way that’s not necessarily in the best interests of all of the conferences.”
Slive knows what’s best.
“It’s interesting because clearly what we did (with the SEC/Big 12 bowl) created a lot of thinking by a lot of people,” Slive said during an interview from the SEC baseball tournament. “I appreciate people thinking about that. But I think what’s in the best interest of college football is a four-team playoff. I think it’s better for everyone involved in the game.”
Here’s the thing. Slive says he’s willing to talk about the selection process. No doubt he is. Problem is whether anyone else is willing to listen to him. In the end, his choice may not be between a plus-one and a four-team playoff. If these people can’t reach a consensus, it may wind up being a choice between a plus-0ne and doing nothing. Which of those options would set Slive to drooling?
No, I’m not talking about what goes on in Bobby Petrino’s head.
I’m referring to, instead, the fairly widespread belief that Arkansas should be considered a serious SEC title contender even though it’s never been what you might call an élite defensive team (last year, Arkansas finished ninth in the conference in total defense) and is breaking in a new defensive coordinator.
Take, for example, this piece, which doesn’t even bother to consider Arkansas’ defense, unlike the other three contenders it mentions (and would also be the case for South Carolina, which is omitted for some reason). Did the rules about winning the SEC with defense change, or is the Hogs’ offense expected to be that good? I doubt the former is the case and before somebody says “Auburn 2010″, keep in mind that team averaged more than a yard per play better that last year’s Arkansas’ offense did.
Alabama and LSU waxed Arkansas last year and even though they’re both home opponents for the Hogs this time, unless John L. Smith is about to unleash a much improved defense on the SEC, I don’t see his team’s chances to win the West improving. Obviously, other people’s mileage varies.
Tony Barnhart has some really bizarre advice for the ACC in this piece about five steps the conference can take to save itself:
… The ultimate trump card you can play with Florida State is your knowledge that they really don’t want to be in the Big 12. They want to be in the SEC. The SEC is in the process of putting together its own network and somewhere down the road may want to expand to 16 teams. Florida State missed on a chance to join the SEC in 1990. They don’t want to miss out again. Use that chip to buy yourself some time.
I had to read that three times to make sure I missing something there, but, yes, he is suggesting that the ACC should tell FSU to wait until its gets the partner it really wants before up and leaving.
“We’re not at the height of our game right now,” an ACC athletics director told me.
This would certainly cement that.
The man in charge of SEC scheduling says there appears to be an early leader in the clubhouse.
The big questions in football scheduling starting in 2013: Who matches up with whom as permanent partners, how will other cross-division teams be rotated, and how far out will the SEC make this schedule? Templeton said the format appears to be the 6-1-1 model, meaning a team plays six divisional games, one permanent cross-division opponent and one rotating cross-division team. That’s what’s being used in 2012.
Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia should be safe as rivals. Kentucky-Mississippi State, South Carolina-Arkansas and LSU-Florida are permanent games that could be switched.
That makes coaches happy. And ADs trying to maximize the number of home games, too. The rest of us? Not so much. We fans are going to have long stretches between seeing most of the teams from the West.
And there’s still the networks to deal with, as well.
“I think what TV is interested in is how many quality games we’re going to have every Saturday,” Templeton said. “They’re more interested in what we’re doing the second week of the season and what are we doing the week before Thanksgiving with everybody either on an open date or nonconference games before their archrival games.”
CBS’ broadcast on the next-to-last weekend in 2011, Arkansas-Mississippi State, drew its second-lowest SEC rating of the season. The only other choices that day weren’t very appealing, either: Kentucky-Georgia, LSU-Ole Miss and Tennessee-Vanderbilt. The options on that day this season could be rough, too: Arkansas-Mississippi State, Ole Miss-LSU and Tennessee-Vanderbilt.
That sounds like the conference is hopeful it can make its broadcast partners happier by carefully parceling out the better matchups throughout the season. Maybe that’ll work, but it would be easier to boost inventory by adding a ninth conference game to the schedule. That won’t happen, though, without a big enough price tag attached.