Waiting for that nine-game conference schedule

I share John Pennington’s position on the SEC’s conference scheduling – nine games makes way too much sense on too many levels to dismiss – but I’m not sure I share his confidence at this point that the folks running the show will eventually see the light on that.

The two big motivating factors would seem to be creating more broadcasting product to peddle and dealing with the postseason perspective of being the only power conference not engaged in a nine-game conference schedule.  As to the former, the SEC doesn’t seem too concerned at this point, as it’s sticking to its eight-game guns even as it negotiates new deals with ESPN and CBS.  If the latter backs down and throws more money in the pot, there’s even less to worry about.

As for the strength of schedule issue, that’s a matter for the selection committee and we don’t know how that will shape up.  The composition of the membership and the… um… flexibility the members are given to create the playoff pool will tell the tale there.  And you can bet your bottom dollar that Slive will roll up his sleeves and work those rules to favor his conference as much as possible.

I just don’t see much pressure to move on this issue right now.  Slive’s been on a roll with the remaking of his conference and the postseason.  It’s hard to see where he’s lost a significant battle so far.  If he and his presidents are arrogant about the course of things, it’s understandable.  Singleton’s talk strikes me as little more than keeping options open, options that aren’t really needed now.

If you’re looking for a tell that things have really changed, keep an eye on out of conference cupcake scheduling.  The McGaritys of the conference didn’t want to shell out cancellation fees for ditching those games to accommodate a larger conference schedule immediately, but if you see less of those matchups being arranged down the road, that may be a clear indication that the SEC is really hedging its bets.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Waiting for that nine-game conference schedule

  1. wnc dawg

    I imagine things will be much clearer on this issue come later summer/fall when we get the numbers from the new broadcast deals. Sadly, I think it’ll take an AU ’04 type reckoning for the 9 game schedule to become a reality.

  2. paul

    I think we’ll eventually see the nine game schedule. The SEC is just hanging onto that card for the next round of contract re-negotiations.

    • Macallanlover

      I think this is exactly how they are playing this. I think giving the conferences with the best match-ups for prime time, and paying accordingly, is how the networks should play this. I prefer to see the best games, even if it is not the SEC that week. Certainly a pairing of Arkansas/TN would get a priority over Nebraska/Penn State but Miss State versus Auburn is less desirable than Oregon/USC. It isn’t just the SEC fans that are missing out on higher quality home games, the CFB fan wants better featured pairings every week or they can spend that 3+ hour period doing other things.

      There seems to be at least one weekend every season where the SEC doesn’t have an interesting game for me to watch, much less a fan that doesn’t have a specific interest in the SEC. Having a ninth game would eliminate those voids, give the season ticket holders more for their money, and keep the product in front of a larger national audience. I get that the SEC is riding high these days but you don’t get complacent when you are dealing from a position of strength, you keep your foot on the gas.

  3. Saint Johns Dawg

    All this blather about scheduling leaves me with a glass-is-half-empty feeling about the Dawgs until they once again pop the lid off the program. We’ve lost all momentum nationally, so with schedules like 2012 it’s “Georgia had an easy schedule … they don’t deserve a shot until they play stronger competition.” Then if/when a stronger schedule comes up the cry will be “Georgia can’t possibly make it to the playoffs … the schedule is just too tough.”

    I don’t think we have the team to do it … but somehow if UGA blew the doors off of a ranked SC team in Columbia could it have the same effect as Bama 08?

  4. Bulldog Joe

    Look at the stands and the TV ratings during the non-conference games this year.

    If they are significantly down as expected, look for the nine-game schedule to come back into the conversation, especially if the conference goes to 16 teams.