As with so many things Les Miles says, it’s hard to tell whether he’s being a smartass or just smart when he discusses his displeasure with LSU having Florida as its permanent cross-division partner/rival.
“This is all based on some vague tradition that is not considering that you’re adding teams to the conference,” he said. “Tell me about the tradition of the conference when you add teams to it.
“I mean, Florida isn’t even a nearby state. This tradition of rivalry is the fact that we enjoy playing them.”
Wait a minute… if you enjoy playing them, then why do you want to do away with… oh, never mind.
If Miles is complaining specifically about his game, well, okay. Although his “adding teams to the conference” rationale doesn’t make much sense in that there were unbalanced rivalries/pairings before expansion when he didn’t object and the two new schools aren’t exactly patsies. But there’s so much “it’s not fair!” whining going on these days you can hardly blame the man for his share. However, if he’s dissing “the tradition of the conference” as a whole, The Hat can go screw himself.
It’s not like we fans were clamoring for conference expansion. That’s come about solely as a result of the chase for the almighty dollar. And that’s a chase that benefits Les Miles a helluva lot more than it does me. So if you’ve got a problem with SEC tradition, Les, kindly keep it to yourself.
The other conferences may be working to keep the SEC down in the new postseason, but there isn’t much they’re doing about the righteous asskicking they’re receiving from the SEC on the recruiting trail right now.
Lest we forget, football isn’t the only sport with a scheduling agenda on the table at Destin. The SEC is grappling with that for men’s basketball, as well. John Calipari thinks the conference ought to pit its best teams against each other and let the conference’s lesser lights do the same against each other. That would presumably maximize the schools’ RPIs.
“Is that what it’s about, who wins the league or the league tournament?” Calipari said. “Or is it about your seed in the NCAA Tournament? How many teams do we want in the NCAA Tournament? Do you want three or four, or do you want six or seven? If you want six or seven, this scheduling matters.”
I’m not saying he’s wrong about that. I am saying that coaches are like anyone else; they’re going to advocate in their own interests. And the reality is that making the tourney is everything in men’s basketball. You can bitch as much as you want to about what the one-and-done rule has done to the sport, but it’s March Madness that’s devalued basketball’s regular season into nothing more than a playoff delivery system. And with a big enough playoff, you’ll see football go down the same road.
When you’ve got a process that’s born out of frustration with the SEC’s run in the BCS title game and fueled by last season’s all-SEC matchup, why would you expect anything different from this?
What used to be fuel for the news cycle in this interminable journey toward a major college playoff has devolved into a study in posturing. A war of words to protect turf, tradition and Tuscaloosa.
Don’t think so? Here we are, three weeks from when the playoff format could be revealed and the consensus builders seem to be deconstructing. To call it anything else would be refusing to sense the vibe that permeated the beginning of the SEC spring meetings that began on Tuesday.
“It’s just like politics and self-interest,” Nick Saban said. “Somebody wants to create a circumstance that’s going to help their situation or conference. That’s not in the best interest of college football.”
The best interest of college football? When was this ever about that?
Look, there’s going to be a change. There’s way too much money in a stand-alone national title game for even the most ardent conference defenders to avoid passing up. But there is more than one way to skin that cat. Every day that passes with more roadblocks to reaching a consensus on a four-team playoff, the more a plus-one fallback looks likely.
If you don’t think that’s going to happen, tell me which conference commissioner(s) is the candidate to back down and compromise.
Paul Myerberg’s got a good piece up about the latest coach to embrace the “I can be as big a dick as Randy Edsall” approach to player transfers, Memphis’ Justin Fuentes. (Memphis? Really?) In it, Myerberg divides the coaching world into three parts:
… Head coaches can take one of three stances with a potential transfer, even one at a position as key as quarterback: hard, medium and soft. The hard-line stance is the one Fuente is taking with Reed, the one stolen right out of Randy Edsall’s playbook with former Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien: you’re hurting the program by leaving, so in a way, this is payback.
There’s the medium approach: I’m not going to allow you to hurt us in the future. Therefore, your transfer cannot lead to a future opponent over the remainder of your eligibility clock. For Reed, who can sit out this season and retain three additional seasons of eligibility, this would mean that Memphis’ no-transfer list would include the entire Big East and all non-conference foes through the 2015 season.
Then there’s the soft, easy, confident approach: you can’t play in our conference, but all else is fair game. Goodbye, and good luck. It takes a comfortable, certain and assured head coach to make this move — it takes the anti-Fuente, a rookie head coach making up rules as he goes along.
I’m curious – where does that put Mark Richt, who not only doesn’t put a restriction on players transferring to other SEC schools, but on occasion has contacted other SEC coaches to help a player move?
“And Georgia fans, don’t be turds. Enjoy this. Soak it up. It’s awesome. If you don’t win this year, it’s still not a failure. It’s a heck of a run. Back-to-back in the Playoff era hasn’t been done. So, to ask for a third I feel like it’s gluttonous. I feel like it’s not OK. But we’ll be in the mix.”-- David Pollack, On3.com, 5/9/23