Let a conference be a conference.

Andy Staples, preaching to the choir ($$):

… Auburn and Tennessee met every year from 1956-91. They’ve played twice since the SEC expanded to 14 schools in 2012. Florida and Ole Miss are charter members of the conference, but they haven’t played one another in Oxford since the year the iPhone was invented. Texas A&M has played eight seasons in the SEC, but the Aggies’ trip to Knoxville on Nov. 14 will be the Aggies’ first visit to Neyland Stadium as a conference member. And they still won’t complete the full set until they play at Kentucky — which is currently scheduled for 2025.

That set could be completed a lot faster if this became an every-year thing. And after seeing what it might look like, no one should ever be satisfied with the eight-game SEC schedule and its generous padding ever again. If this schedule gets played this fall, league athletic directors should have a fan revolt on their hands if they try to foist a season ticket package containing two or more directional schools on their loyal customers. After they’ve seen how good the product can be, why should they ever be satisfied with an inferior version again?

Fuckin’ A, man.

And for those who object to what an extended conference schedule might do to the hopes and dreams of every 6-6 Ole Miss team (just sayin’!), he has the perfect answer — do away with the 6-win requirement for bowl games.  The idea that we should water down the regular season with meaningless cupcake games to preserve a shot at a meaningless postseason exhibition game defies all logic.  (Of course, nobody said the people running the game are always logical.)

Greg Sankey, be a hero.  We fans could sure use one.

20 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

20 responses to “Let a conference be a conference.

  1. “If this schedule gets played this fall….”

    ‘If’ is, as you say, doing some heavy lifting there.

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  2. Ed Bodenhamer

    Would love a permanent 9/0 game conference schedule AND the GA/FL game moved to home and home

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  3. Godawg

    I was thinking this very thing last night. Keep the 10, throw in Tech and another P5, like Clemson, and Katie bar the door…

    I’m also wondering how many FCS teams the pandemic, and the resulting systemic changes to P5 schedules, will kill.

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  4. The Truth

    There are only 40 top-level football-playing schools. Four conferences of 10 each. Nine game round robin schedule to determine conference champ — no championship game. The top two teams go into an eight-team playoff on opposite sides of the bracket. So, if UGA and Bama, for example, are the best two teams they can play for the Natty.

    Best part: Only conference games determine the conference champ and spot in the playoff. So you could schedule a quality team from each of the other three conferences every year and it wouldn’t affect your chance at a conference championship and playoff spot.

    Make it happen.

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    • Given the amount of realignment that would require, I will be six feet under well before that ever happens.

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    • Tony BarnFart

      Do that and then align the 24 that get left out regionally with the American, MWC, Sun Belt and MAC and implement promotion and relegation. Bottom 2 / Top 2 swap the next year.

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  5. I still say that fans of the top 4 or 5 teams in each conference would love this, but most of the rest would not. Even if you drop the 6 win requirement for a bowl game, I’d still rather watch my team win more games than lose them, if I’m looking at it through the lens of a Purdue, Vandy, Miss St, etc type of fan. For a lot of us here, the trade off of a more difficult schedule but a higher inventory of quality games to watch (both involving UGA and not involving UGA) is worth it because we not only love UGA, we love the heck out of college football as a whole. But for the average fan of the average team, not sure they’d see it the same way.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. David K

    There’s too much money tied up in getting as many SEC schools into the playoffs and other New Years Day bowl games. To the selection committees, an undefeated season against multiple cupcakes looks better than a 2 loss season going through a gauntlet of quality games.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. practicaldawg

    I think this year (if it happens) will expand the gap between the top and bottom of the SEC even more. Depth is everything. There will be no healing weeks. Every Saturday will be brutal. Teams like USCjr may be in even more pain than usual come November. That’s a good time to get them, btw.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. 79dawg

    It’s embarrassing to play cupcakes at this point, and has been for awhile…. At least when the conference only required 5 or 6 games, teams were playing an annual rivalry game or 2, and 2 or 3 pretty good other OOC matchups. There is a winner and loser in every game, and all they’ve done over the years is added more guaranteed losers to the pot, in order to goose the wins. Even worse, as some of the f/k/a “losers” improved, they started selecting “worse losers”, going into the I-AA dumpster diver bin for opponents. Not worth my money…
    P.S. If the big schools move to this model, the Committee will have to adjusts its criteria – after all, it exists solely at the pleasure of the big schools to ensure they remain the anointed ones…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. siskey

    I don’t really care if we ever play Texas A&M or Missouri. Since they are in the SEC, I understand that we must play them. I would prefer a 7-8 game conference schedule where Power 5 teams are forced to play other Power 5 teams. I think it is more likely that we have more conference games because of what will be serious attendance issues in the future and the inequity in having to randomly play a bad Pac-12 team the week before a big rivalry game. (although we have done that to ourself in the past with no help from the outside).

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  10. otto1980

    I was more interested in playing Virginia than Arkansas and agreed with siskey on A&M. UGA went decade without playing LSU and were in the same conference.

    Auburn was the one that came out of the SEC split with the most history lost. Auburn played UF, and UTk annually.

    I still prefer the idea mandating that SEC team play 2 P5 nonConf teams, staying on the preCOVID rotation of cross division games.

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    • otto1980

      Further, I’d trade Miss St for GT and the future Clemson games, FSU, and home/away with UCLA interest me more than Arky, or A&M or even playing LSU and Bama more often.

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  11. Russ

    It ain’t the 6-6 Ole Miss teams they are worried about. Wait until we go 2 years without a 2 loss SEC champion in the playoffs (along with the “the SEC is down” narrative). That 8 game conference schedule has been paying the bills nicely. Very little motivation to change it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ozam

    I think there is another issue that stands out in the current environment besides the number of conference games.

    Something discussed many times on this website is the regional nature of college football. The national media wants to make it a big deal that not all Power 5 conferences are playing this fall. But, if you do not have a national view of college football, something that many of us here do not, do you care what the Big-10, Pac-12 do? Call me an old time romantic, but I liked the days when winning a division championship and maybe an SEC championship were the ultimate goal. These were things we could control.

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