Mike Slive’s mixed legacy

In noting the decline of the SEC over the past few seasons, Bill Connelly wonders if that can be attributed to a run of boring coach hires.  With all due respect to Brother Bill, I’d like to suggest another culprit:  the conference is more mediocre lately because it has more mediocre teams than before.

If you stayed up last night, you learned that in losing to Kansas State, Texas A&M managed to finish 8-5 for the third straight season.  The Aggies’ cumulative conference record over that period is 11-13.  Subtract Johnny Manziel from the equation and this program has been the poster child for mediocrity during its time in its new home.  Kevin Sumlin, by the way, makes a cool $5 million a year for that kind of production.

Then there’s the SEC East’s contribution, Missouri.  To their credit, the Tigers have a pair of division titles to their name, thanks to Georgia imploding due to injuries in 2013 and just imploding generally on the field in Jacksonville the next year.  (The luster of those finishes was substantially dimmed by consecutive blow outs in the conference championship games.)  Hard times have followed in the two seasons since then, as Mizzou has failed to reach bowl eligibility in either and has a whopping total of two conference wins to its name over that time.

To put it mildly, neither has brought much in the way of prowess to the table of late.  (Don’t waste your time pointing to other sports besides football, because it was football alone that was the reason for their invitations to join the conference’s party.)  Add to that a disregard for geography, tradition and conference scheduling —  remember, Dawg fans, we’ve got two more Presidential election cycles to go through before setting foot in College Station, Texas — and it’s not much of a leap to conclude that conference expansion has been largely unsuccessful, at least by the metric of maintaining what’s been special about the SEC.

Largely ain’t the same thing as totally, though.  And in one spectacular way, conference expansion has been everything Mike Slive and the people who hired him thought it would be.  It gave Slive the lever to overturn the conference’s existing broadcast contracts, which had fallen behind the times and were eclipsed by bigger deals like the Big Ten Network, and allow for the creation of the cash cow that is the SEC Network.  For them, that’s what’s special about the conference.

In the end, it’s what’s in the eyes of the university presidents that matters.  So when it comes time to write Slive’s epitaph, it’ll be a simple one.  Mike Slive always made money for his partners.

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12 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

12 responses to “Mike Slive’s mixed legacy

  1. DawgPhan

    Adding Mizzou didnt make Florida hire Boom or Jim Bob Cooter. It didnt make USC hire Boom. It didnt make Mizzou hire whatever that guys name is.

    Just like you posted a few weeks ago about the coaching talent in the SEC being pretty low right now as opposed to just a few years ago.

    Is there only 1 coach with a national title in the league? 2 coaches with an SEC title?

    Admittedly before the expansion, half the coaches in the league had SEC Championships on their resume.

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  2. CB

    Spot on Senator, and the thing is TAMU and Mizzou were mediocre before they got brought on. They’re the reason why I really have no conference pride anymore. My connection to the SEC was based on a regional perspective. At this point we have way too many teams west of the Mississippi, and as such I’ve stopped caring about SEC teams in non con games and bowls. The SEC network has also swung all the media bias to favor the SEC, so I don’t have to worry about USC barely beating Fresno State or whether or not Auburn beats a Big 12 team in the opener. By that metric it’s a good thing.

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    • I think we should change the name of the conference to the CTZC, the Central Time Zone Conference. Neither Texas A&M nor Missouri are southeastern, and only 5 of 14 schools are in the Eastern time zone.

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      • CB

        Glad we don’t have to deal with 11am kicks over here.

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        • Macallanlover

          We would own 11 AM, just like we currently own the noon slot. Not own the games mind you, but you could set your wake-up call by the opening whistle in the fall. And our administrators would be ecstatic with their accomplishment of continuing to drive fans away…..that is their goal, no? We have so many noon starts now that I bet our average starting time is earlier than any of the none Central time schools, even spotting them the 12 hour time difference over the entire season.

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  3. Sparrow

    This is unrelated, but maybe a good a place as any to pose a question. I was listening to PAPN last night and their rant about how people who complain about the playoffs are idiots. The very first thought I had was hoping for a rebuttal from you. As a general rule I enjoy what Godfrey and Connelly do on the show and it’s expanded my college football universe, but they just seemed to miss the mark. Any thoughts?

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  4. Macallanlover

    I still think A&M was a great addition to the SEC. And I really like Sumlin as a man, but his 2nd half collapses are just becoming too predictable for him to last beyond next year. Mizzou does seem to be a bad fit though, any way you measure it.

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  5. Mayor

    My position on this is well documented. Kick the last 4 entries into the SEC out of the conference.

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  6. The Nelson Puppet

    “I loved college football ever since Wally Butts threw the Georgia-Alabama game in 1962.”

    -Mike Slive

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