Greg Sankey’s bland assurances otherwise notwithstanding, let me introduce to the eventual reason the SEC goes to a nine-game conference schedule.
College football’s version of the gig economy gets rolling Thursday, as teams across the country begin the annual ritual of playing one-time, non-conference games in exchange for huge payouts.
This season, well over $175 million will change hands just for teams getting on the field for these so-called “guarantee” games, according to an analysis of more than 275 contracts for matchups involving teams in the NCAA’s top-level Bowl Subdivision.
Top of the list? The Florida Gators.
The greatest payout this season is the $2 million Colorado State is getting from Florida for a game Sept. 15 that the schools created as part of package under which coach Jim McElwain fulfilled the $7.5 million buyout he owed for leaving the Rams to join the Gators after the 2014 season.
Boy, that turned out to be money well spent.
The trend, as the header quote from Iowa AD Gary Barta indicates, is upwards. At some point, you’d have to think the conferences are going to realize the math stops adding up.