Eight plus one

The SEC presidents and chancellors got together today to discuss football scheduling.  In case you’re wondering how things turned out, let LSU’s Joe Alleva clue you in.

The end result?  The status quo, with a twist:

But beginning in 2016, each school will be required to schedule at least one nonconference game against one of the four other major conferences. That’s not a change for teams such as Georgia, which already plays Georgia Tech every year. Florida already plays Florida State, South Carolina has Clemson and Kentucky has Louisville.

In fact the only SEC teams in 2014 that aren’t playing another major-conference team are Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

Slive said the change would “bolster our collective annual nonconfernce schedule” while also maintaning flexibility for each school with the remaining three games.

“The concept of strength-of-schedule is based on an entire 12-game schedule, a combination of both conference games together with non-conference games,” Slive said. “Given the strength of our conference schedule supplemented by at least one major non-conference game, our teams will boast of a strong resume’ of opponents each and every year.”

This has Slive’s Solomonic approach written all over it – a little something for everybody (I doubt Alleva agrees, but…):  no ninth conference game, but a requirement that every school make a nod in the direction of strength of schedule, to keep the playoff selection folks satisfied.  No ninth game, but the key rivalry games are preserved.  Throw in some discomfort over unbalanced home/away schedules and a desire to use non-conference scheduling to maximize bowl opportunities, and there you have it.

“Tradition matters in the SEC, and there is no denying that tradition was a significant factor in this decision because it protects several long-standing cross-division conference rivalries,” Slive said. “It has been a hallmark of the SEC over our history to be able to make continued progress while also maintaining traditions important to our institutions.”

Of course, the other part of that tradition is that there are going to be long stretches when certain teams from the East don’t face certain teams from the West.  That’s the price you have to pay for progress to preserve the right to play Wake Forest and Indiana.  (It’ll be interesting to see what happens if a SEC school can’t find a major college dance partner in a given season.)

The bitching from certain quarters will continue.  That’s another tradition.  But the real upshot to take away from this cobbled together course of action is that Slive wants to keep his powder dry on the subject of inventory for the SEC Network.  He’ll go to that ninth game when somebody’s ready to make it worth his while. Meanwhile, he’s got a consensus that no SEC school plays four games against teams from lesser conferences/divisions anymore.


UPDATE:  As an interesting side note, look what got voted down.

“I understand Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia for the history, but that’s only four schools,” Alleva said. “The rest were voting in their own self-interest. They could have kept those games and the rest of us rotated. That was brought up but voted down.”


UPDATE #2:  This is mighty big of ’em.


Filed under SEC Football

21 responses to “Eight plus one

  1. wnc dawg

    I wish they’d rotate through the non permanent game annually to play everyone in a reasonable timeframe.


    • I think that’s what the plan is. The rotation is not going to be home-and-home over a two-year period. That’s just like the process is now. We will play the other 6 teams in the West over the 6 years but will see that team in Athens only once every 12 years.


  2. Timphd

    Alleva should shut up since his game involves the Gators. Talk about “competitive advantage”. That offense should give LSU a good shot to win.


    • Russ

      Agree, I don’t see what LSU is bitching about.


    • Macallanlover

      Alleva is a huge embarrassment for LSU fans, LSU has respect nationally because they play a good SEC schedule, FU helps that, and always seems to have a really good OOC game. Why fool with that? It isn’t like they haven’t benefited and prospered from the current set-up. Alleva is a wimp, not worthy of the position he has based on the consistent and loud crying about this subject. McFrugal isn’t my favorite AD either but at least he doesn’t yell at the top of his lungs.


  3. David

    At least Bama can schedule VT or Duke!


  4. S.E. Dawg

    I can hear it now. The talking heads of ESPN saying Georgia doesn’t deserve a spot in the top four of the playoffs because they played Georgia Tech or whom ever because they had a down year. So If GT is in a major conference it shouldn’t matter. Right?


    • Otto

      1st I like the decision by the SEC.

      2nd I wish UGA would schedule more games like Az State, Colorado, or the canceled Oregon and Louisville games.


  5. Bob

    Alleva has a gripe about Bama and UT. But Auburn has had to play us and we have been better than the Gators for the better part of a decade now. Maybe AU should complain that LSU gets off easily.

    Not sure why the Notre Dame thing needed clarifying. They play as an ACC member, although not full time. I don’t think anyone would not consider them a major opponent. Hopefully now we can quickly lock that game in.

    As much as I wanted to go to 9 games, I wish the SEC had directed that each team schedule 2 games against major conference opponents. Then teams can still have those 2 cream puffs if they desire. There is no excuse for any SEC team not playing at least 10 Big Conference teams a year. None.


    • Bobby Fenton

      “We have been better than the Gators for the better part of a decade”?

      This word, “decade”, I do not think it means what you think it means.

      You should just stick to, “We’ve won three in a row”.


  6. joe

    Someone should give alleva a history lesson. Ufk is a much better historical program than lsu or uf. It’s only a matter of time before the 3rd Saturday in October is relevant again.

    Uf seems to have settled into mid 80’s uga, so that should be really favorable for lsu.


  7. Hobnail_Boot

    So.. 6-1-1? If so, we would go for 10-year stretches between non-Auburn SECW opponents.


  8. $live and the presidents seemed to get this right. The ADs and coaches except for Saban wanted 8 conference games. The prospect of 9 conference games is still out there for the right price as a negotiation chip. Hopefully, all of this keeps potential match-ups with Clemson, ND, tOSU, etc. in play over the next few years. It’s a step in the right direction.


  9. cube

    It’s amazing how much Alleva will cry about the permanent opponent but in the next breath talk about how he is against a 9th conference game, even though another game against the other division would help smooth out cross division strength of schedule fluctuations.

    “I care about fairness until we start talking about taking away my cupcakes.”


  10. Will Trane

    UT vs Bama. Dawgs vs Tigers.Alums with a history. Do not think you can throw those 2 games 4 teams to the side. That is decades of great games and history. It should continue. Sorry LSU AD but some damn games are important to us you dumb butt.


  11. Will Trane

    Eight. Big number if you are the Diamond Dawgs. Somebody on that roster needs to get their ass in gear and play baseball. Road trips and top teams beside. Time these guys start playing, and making a statement about who they are. You make big ones with series victorys on the road. There is never a next year. This season in the one that counts! Play ball or whimper to the dugout.


  12. Debby Balcer

    Good news for GA.


  13. Haven’t really thought it through. But at first glance, it looks reasonable to me. For now.

    And FWIW, LSU has really plastered the whiner tag on themselves now. But Alabama does, as usual, end up with the biggest straw.


  14. Bulldog Joe

    LSU should know the only way they get a fair shake is to move the SEC office to Louisiana.


  15. Dog in Fla

    Negotiations are underway to bring the SEC HQ to Central Grocery in the Quarter. Good news: free muffalettas for all. Bad news: Bobby Jindal jockeying for position to succeed Mike Slive as Grand Fubar.