The SEC scheduling buck stops… where?

I have to chuckle a little bit at this Pat Forde column suggesting that Nick Saban has supposedly taught the rest of the SEC how to schedule.

Alabama has had the best players and best coaching in college football for a decade, but there is another reason why the Crimson Tide rule the sport: scheduling.

The program has perfected a scheduling formula that features a splashy neutral-site game while resolutely shunning one thing: non-conference road games. ‘Bama hasn’t played a true road contest outside the Southeastern Conference since 2011, and doesn’t have another one scheduled until 2022. That, combined with the SEC only playing eight league games instead of nine, means that the Tide annually plays just four times per season in hostile stadiums.

Florida says, “hold my beer”, Pat.

SEC schools have gamed the scheduling system as long as I’ve been blogging.  It’s nothing new.  Alabama’s real scheduling advantage comes in that it doesn’t have a big non-conference rival it’s obligated to play every season.  That gives it the extra flexibility to play those neutral site openers.

But, you know, I get it.  Nick Saban, genius.  Comes with the territory.

While I chuckle at that, here’s the real WTF take:

“SEC fans accepting crappier schedules…” ?  Wut?

If you’ve got a suggestion on how we can force SEC schools into dropping cupcakes and playing a nine-game conference schedule, Adam, by all means, lay it on us.  We’re all ears.

The garbage doesn’t keep coming because we accept it.  It’s because Greg Sankey does.

“The facts candidly speak for themselves,” commissioner Greg Sankey said here Monday, regarding SEC scheduling. “Stated succinctly, what we do works at both the national championship level and at a level that provides our teams meaningful access to post-season Bowl opportunities. … I do not presently anticipate any major change in our approach, but I do anticipate healthy and continued dialogue both now and in the future among our leadership.”

Go make him feel guilty.

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28 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

28 responses to “The SEC scheduling buck stops… where?

  1. W Cobb Dawg

    Well, there is the occasional win by Citadel, Troy or Louisiana Monroe to look forward to. It always brings a smile to my face to think about Georgia Southern laying a 55 gallon drum of whoopass on fu.

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  2. If the league needed 9 games to make the TV package worth it, they would go to 9. If Little Nicky wants to play P5 opponents only, show us the way.

    Nick Saban, the master of talking out of both sides of his mouth and not being called on it

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  3. Jeff Fabian

    As a member of the dawgvent, I can say this discussion is brought up quite often. And, yes, there are many fans who prefer the path of least resistance to a NC over watching quality football,

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  4. Bulldog Joe

    If Alabama wants to schedule like Florida all they have to do is find a conference rival willing to play them every year in Birmingham.

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  5. ATL Dawg

    Continuing to donate and buy tickets is accepting it.

    Donors and ticket holders may not see it that way but the schools do.

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    • No doubt about it as a season ticket holder … I am a romantic when it comes to this topic. My dad tried like hell for years to get season tickets without being an alum. We got tickets when someone wouldn’t use their seats. When I got them in 1992, I said they would pry them out of my cold dead hands. The year I give them up is likely either the year I’m done with college football or I’m six feet under.

      Does this make me part of the problem? Yep. Do I care? Nope.

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  6. Go Dawgs!

    I mean, dude’s got a point. The only way Georgia’s non-conference schedule could be more weak this year would be if we drop Georgia Tech and add another non-power 5 game (and I think that’s technically against SEC rules now since we’re all required to play at least one major conference game out of conference). Sanford Stadium will be sold out every game this fall and our fans will be tuning in to watch the majority of every game (no, i don’t think people will be watching the 4th quarters of the cupcake games). If the fans aren’t voting with their wallets when the scheduling product is THIS bad, then we never will. The SEC schools have passionate fan bases and support. We’ve proven we’ll show up no matter who they’re scheduling. For it to change, a deserving SEC school has to be left out of the playoff, or someone in charge needs to force the issue. Auburn’s 2004 season motivated teams to schedule tougher for a while. The conference was shamed into requiring a power-5 game for every school. But that’s about it. These ADs aren’t going to change it on their own.

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  7. JCDAWG83

    I think one issue is that P5 schools now almost have to demand a home and home to play out of conference. There was a time when Virginia or TCU or even UCLA would take an away game with another conference team with no expectation of a return game at their stadium. Now, that is generally not something any team in a P5 conference is going to agree to. The money is too big for a team to give up a home game AND risk a loss to a P5 team that could knock them out of consideration for the playoff. Florida showed everyone the path to the championship and everyone else learned the lesson well.

    Money drives everything in college football now. Until the fans stop buying the tickets to the cupcake games, which will mean they stop buying season tickets, the scheduling isn’t gong to change. If bad schedules stopped fans from buying tickets, Clemson would not sell many season tickets at all. In addition to their ACC schedule which is weak as water, they have Furman and Ga. Southern as home games. Louisville (who knows if they will be any good this season) and South Carolina are their two best home games.

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    • Cojones

      Don’t rule out lightning and other weather-related events as being a schedule factor in Gainesville. That was part of their being the East champions(?) more than once. Being in the state with the most lightning strikes has an advantage that has never seemed to cause an inclement weather schedule to be anticipated.

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    • PTC DAWG

      Your point is spot on. Things have changed. I doubt we could even get a lower level Power 5 team to agree for a 2 for 1. And folks would still gripe about playing Wake Forest or Indiana or the like.

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  8. Uglydawg

    Just look at how much was gained by playing ND. UGA, football got more out of that win than can be measured….even down to the point of getting a DL graduate from the Irish. The prestige, the publicity, the way the Georgia faithful filled their stadium….it was a great and positive thing. All of this without even mentioning how much we all enjoyed the very competitive contest on the field. Good grief..how in the world the admin can think that playing cupcakes is better for the program, I can barely fathom.
    The whole point of having a football team is (was originally) to have competitive and entertaining games…not just to chalk up “W’s against cupcakes.

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      • Cojones

        Dooley scheduled several ooc games that placed us on the map outside the SEC. I can remember Michigan and UCLA scheduled when they had good teams. Agree with you that we shouldn’t shy away from scheduling great competition each year.

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  9. CB

    “If you’ve got a suggestion on how we can force SEC schools into dropping cupcakes and playing a nine-game conference schedule, Adam, by all means, lay it on us. We’re all ears.”

    Stop showing up. A good friend of mine and I were sitting at the Coastal Carolina game in 2011. The tickets were free, but it was hot as hell. About the second quarter we looked at each other and asked “Why in God’s name are we subjecting ourselves to this?” At that point I pretty much vowed not to waste my time spending my entire Saturday driving 2 hours to Athens just to watch Georgia steamroll a cupcake while simultaneously missing out on games that are actually worth watching. We ended up leaving in the 2nd qtr and heading to a bar downtown to watch Florida/Tennessee. I think I’ve been to one cupcake since then, and it was another free ticket. I gave away two free tickets to the Samford game last season.

    As for you season ticket holders, I think it’s time to sack up and let your money talk. Stop letting ADGM dictate terms. As an alumni I bought two season tickets from somebody else for the 2015 season, and I can tell you it was a lot more of a pain in the ass trying to get rid of the unappealing match ups and trying to get somebody to go with me for the good games than it has been to just buy tickets off of ticketmaster as a non season ticket holder. I went to every game I wanted to last season including the SEC Championship and National Championship, and I guarantee I spent less money than any season ticket holder when you take into account the donations required just for the right to maybe get two seats in the 300 section.

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    • CB

      My point is if B-M starts seeing significant declines in gate revenue for the non- P5 games perhaps they would rethink the scheduling strategy. I realize my suggestion is as realistic as moving Stone Mountain to the other side of Atlanta, but I vow to do my part (in so much as it remains convenient and cost effective lol).

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      • PTC DAWG

        Folks that think it’s easy for UGA to schedule more Power 5 teams, they forget we have GT every year, and have to work around the UF game in Jax…both big monkey wrenches in the big scheme of things. The Athens merchants want 7 home games…they almost demand them.

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        • CB

          I don’t care if it’s easy or not. I just want it done. There are always excuses, but it’s not for me as a consumer to worry about the details. If I’m buying a car I’m not going to pay more for it simply because one dealership is paying higher property taxes. That has nothing to do with me, I’ll just go somewhere else.

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        • JCDAWG83

          Athens merchants don’t have any say in the schedules. Again, the problem is finding out of conference P5 teams willing to play an away game with no return home game.

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          • CB

            Who said anything about Athens merchants having a say? That was an analogy outlining why I don’t care about the details of scheduling P5 opponents, just get it done bc I’m not showing up to FCS or Sunbelt games. I can’t make a difference on my own, but if everyone took that position we’d probably see the needle move. Heck, I’m not even sure if we really need to do anything that extreme. Public outcry alone got us renovated bathrooms and less noon kicks, we might just want to start there.

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          • CB

            Forgive me, I now see that you were responding to PTC.

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