Cross-divisional Rivalries for Dummies

This neatly sums up why Les Miles, Steve Spurrier and all the others who dismiss the need for games like Auburn-Georgia to stay on the SEC schedule can kindly kiss my ass:

To those outside of “Deep South” and “Third Saturday,” it’s a common gripe that in order for those four teams to enjoy their games annually, the rest of the conference is saddled with contrived rivalries like Mississippi State vs. Kentucky or Florida vs. LSU, a game that often creates a disadvantage in strength of schedule for those two teams. If cross-divisional opponents were eliminated in an eight- or nine-game schedule, that would mean more frequent marquee match-ups like Georgia vs. LSU or Texas A&M vs. Florida, and less of Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt.

This particular streak has been especially humbling: Saban is undefeated against Tennessee since arriving in Tuscaloosa, outscoring UT 204-65 since 2007. So why should the conference at large cater to a lopsided affair, especially with a future network and potential playoff committee consideration in the balance?

“And do what, get rid of it, not play it?” asks Michael Hartley, a Tennessee fan from “south of Knoxville” in line to see Saban speak in Athens. He’s here with his girlfriend, a lifelong Alabama fan who’s parking the car at the moment.

“Hell no. I mean, I hate ’em worse than anybody. But not playing it’s worse than losing.”

I know my opinion on the matter means nothing, but if conference expansion means losing games like these, I’d just as soon see the SEC go back to twelve teams.  In any event, giving up these rivalries is like surrendering a piece of your soul.  And today’s SEC is soulless enough as it is.


Filed under SEC Football

26 responses to “Cross-divisional Rivalries for Dummies

  1. Rusty

    Very wel said.

  2. Russ

    I agree 100%. Unfortunately, I think the die has been cast and we’ll lose these games in the next 10 years. When Texas and Texas A&M stop playing after ~ 100 years, and Nebraska and Oklahoma stopped playing, and so on, it’s obvious that the only thing that matters is (TV) money.

  3. Dawg Simple

    Says it all “Hell no. I mean, I hate ‘em worse than anybody. But not playing it’s worse than losing.” I feel the same way about Georgia playing Auburn. I understand fans’ passion for FL, GT and SC but a lot of what the Dawgs are is associated with Auburn. This is one thing we as fans and a program and maybe the SEC can do right – Preserve the rivalries.

  4. Cousin Eddie

    Per Wikipedia – “Overall, Alabama leads the series with an official 49–38–7 record” So what if Bama has won the last 6, this series is streaky and overall very close. That is no reason to stop a historical rivalry. SEC Football is somewhat cyclical, UT will (unfortunately) be back one day. Miles is a Yankee anyway what does he really know about football in the south, Slive should tell him go back to Ohio if he doesn’t like playing UF.

  5. Dawg in Beaumont

    We need a 9 game SEC schedule. Ideally, we would have stayed at 12 teams in the conference and 8 games would be manageable, but in a 14 team league you need 9 conference games. We can still play Tech, it just means we would have a boring non-conference schedule every year.

    To me that is far better than losing the Auburn game as a yearly event.

  6. Castleberry

    This whole expansion business still makes me sick. It looks like the net for Georgia is swapping out Auburn for Missouri as a permanent rival.

    • Sanford222View

      Or like others have mentioned just move Mizzou and Vandy to the West and move Bama and Auburn to the East.

      • Dawg Simple

        The East would be absolutely brutal every year. If the switch happened, Miles would have a big grin.

        • Sanford222view

          Just to keep to keep The Hat on his toes the League office could ensure either Bama, Florida, or Georgia are always on his schedule.

    • ZeroPointZero

      I’m sure the fine people of Alabama would find some holes in that plan. And rightfully so. Tradeing Mizz and Ky for the AL teams is the only thing that makes sense. Oh except 9 sec games. A or B, choose your poison. I vote for 9, but my opinion is worth less than Bluto’s.

  7. mdcgtp

    “I know my opinion on the matter means nothing, but if conference expansion means losing games like these, I’d just as soon see the SEC go back to twelve teams. In any event, giving up these rivalries is like surrendering a piece of your soul. And today’s SEC is soulless enough as it is.”

    Can we just go back to 12 teams because we should have never added Missouri and for all of A&M’s success last year, if one of Arkansas, Tennessee, or Auburn (preferably Arkansas) were a top 15 caliber team, A&M is totally unnecessary.

    • Governor Milledge

      Everything else being equal, TA&M is more valuable to the SEC than most of the programs in the SEC which preceded it… Kyle Field, upon completion of the renovation project, will be the largest stadium in the SEC

    • Agreed. Let’s retain our identity. Tennessee will be back, these things always change.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        uT ain’t catchin’ a gear any time soon.

        • Otto

          But Bama could drop as soon as Saban moves on. UT/Bama is stay true to the trend in the rivalry, streaks. It was the same for UT back in ’80 when Herschel had his debut. UT was down Bama was winning titles.

  8. Keese

    GA-Auburn and UT-Bama isn’t going anywhere senator.

  9. TomReagan

    Ask the Big 12 folks if they regret not following the SEC model of permanent cross-division rivals. It was a heck of a lot easier for Nebraska to walk away when they’d already had the Oklahoma game taken from them.

  10. All of this so Mike Slive could tell Jim Delany his is bigger. If we could have a championship game with 10 teams, I would suggest kicking all 4 expansion schools out to bring Clemson back on the schedule. I can’t believe the suits in Birmingham are dumb enough to let UGA-AU and Bama-UT end their permanent rivalries.

    • The 984

      Hell, it wasn’t even necessarily about beating out the B1G. They expanded to 14 after us. We went to 14 to catch up to Swofford and the freaking ACC.

  11. Lawdawg567

    “especially with a future network and potential playoff committee consideration in the balance?”

    Especially. Root word, special. Unlike a game that’s been played since 1892.

  12. Mayor of Dawgtown

    I know my opinion on the matter means nothing but if conference expansion means losing games like these I’d just as soon see the SEC go back to TEN teams and every team play every other team each season. That would end the whining by some about some other teams playing easier conference schedules wouldn’t it!

  13. Otto

    1st off UF/LSU isn’t contrived. They’ve played every year since ’53. Sure it isn’t as big for UF as Auburn or UGA but it isn’t contrived. Before the split UF was far bigger to LSU than Auburn . I do question if Auburn belonged in the East and UT in the West. Either way UF and LSU would be stuck together.

    I agree with the logic off adding A&M they were a big get TV sets, AAU, overall revenue and a stop for all the other SEC programs to recruit Texas talent. It also breaks the Big XII’s advantage of being the only BCS conf with Texas programs.

    I am beginning to agree with on the other on dropping back to 10. The SECCG is not needed with the a playoff. The SECCG gave to SEC a chance to break the media bias of the BIG10, PAC, and Big8. However, I absolutely disagree with the push for every SEC program to everyone else. It isn’t historically how the SEC scheduled, UGA didn’t play UT for a decade at a time, same for Auburn and LSU. The SEC expansion has been the biggest success of the enlarged conferences because they kept traditional matchups.

    The more CFB goes the direction of the NFL the less interest I have.

    • The 984

      The author of that piece definitely messed up when trying to paint some rivalries as contrived. Like you said, LSU and UF have played almost every year since 1953 (there was like a two year break in the 70s). It throws Ole Miss/Vandy by the wayside even though that’s the third oldest series in the SEC. It claims cross-division splits have existed since 1992 to only protect two rivalries even though the original format used until around 2003 was to have two permanent rivals and one rotating opponent, a format which was used to preserve the longstanding UF/Auburn rivalry, the Alabama/Vandy series (played every year since 1929), and some other minor series like UGA/Ole Miss.

      • Otto

        Missed the 70s break looking at the records. Good info on Ole Miss/Vandy.

        I agee and would argue that there was a 3rd permanent rival that survived for a while which was in the SEC thought process back in ’92 in UF/Auburn. It is a shame the UGA/UF/Auburn rotation had to die with the conf. expansion.

        If the SEC expands again some of these could be brought back with 4 pods of 4 teams

  14. Slaw Dawg

    I wonder if fans ever really complain about keeping the rivalry games, or if it’s just coach bellyaching. I can’t remember any fellow Dawg fans whining about having to play UT or the Gators every year when they were kicking our butts with dismaying regularity. Granted, we’re in the same division, but what’s the difference, really? As I understand it, Les isn’t really complaining about the LSU-Gator game because it’s played every year–he’s complaining because it’s a game regularly played against a tough opponent. Does he want to drop Bama too?

    I can tell a zillion bad stories about booger eatin’ Gator fans and tractor drivin’ Wartiglesmen, but don’t remember any of the former wanting to end the series during the Dooley domination years or the latter wanting to end theirs in the recent years of Richt-eousness. I’m sure it’s because all SEC fans want to get back at the Hated Foe and are sure that in time, things will be set right.

    Tech fans on the other hand… those pathetic crybabies would love to drop the Dawgs and add Ga State, I’m sure. That’s why we MUST keep them–that and the fact we still haven’t properly avenged the 50’s.