“Everything is on the table.”

You knew there had to be something on conference realignment, right?

Andy Staples is reporting ($$) that the SEC isn’t rejecting the concept of a nine-game conference schedule out of hand, which is either a magnanimous gesture on the part of Greg Sankey or (more likely) the short term way of dealing with the pressure ESPN is bringing in return for paying out more money to its broadcast partner.

Staples says there’s another financial consideration in play.

Administrators want a more frequent rotation of conference opponents to excite potential season ticket buyers. With Oklahoma and Texas coming into the league, no one wants to have to wait five or six years to see the Sooners or Longhorns in their stadium.

I’m sure the majority of conference coaches are all onboard with that.  Bottom line, though, it’s a business move and you don’t make those if money doesn’t trump all.  (In other words, tough luck, coach.)

Answering the eight/nine question is just the first scheduling step the conference has to take.  Who plays whom comes next.  Besides the pods vs. divisions talk we’ve heard, Staples says there’s another option that’s getting some traction, a three-permanent-opponent format.

Each team would have three opponents that it played annually. The other 12 opponents would rotate through twice every four years. So a player who spends four years at a school would get to play in every stadium (except at schools that play neutral-site rivalry games). The original suggestion for the current 14-team lineup was to do this with an eight-game schedule, which also would have allowed the other opponents to rotate through twice every four years. Adding a ninth game allows for a full rotation every two years with the 16-team league.

He calls that the cleanest option, but I imagine there would be some pretty fierce infighting over which schools get stuck with ‘Bama and which schools lobby for Vanderbilt.

I still think sticking with divisions and moving Alabama and Auburn to the East is the path of least resistance, but I’m not Greg Sankey.

70 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

70 responses to ““Everything is on the table.”

  1. I’m beginning to believe that we’re nearing the end of the WLOCP. There’s so much money out there that opting out is becoming a drop in the bucket. Same with the neutral site opening games.
    Just my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ben

      Dropping neutral site opening games would be great, but if we lose the cocktail party, those guys from out west should lose the game at the fairgrounds, too.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Spell Dawg

      Who do you imagine would be opting out?

      Like

    • Why? Part of the appeal of TV is the 50/50 neutral site. I guarantee you ESPN has no interest in the Cocktail Party or the Red River Shootout being on campus. Same for the neutral site opening games.

      Liked by 7 people

    • fu1980

      Maybe nine conference games with each team having a neutral site game, several already in place.

      Liked by 1 person

    • rugbydawg79

      Why would we leave the Cocktail party. It is something makes us special.

      Liked by 4 people

    • akascuba

      As long as ESPN likes the number of viewers the tradition is safe.

      Liked by 3 people

    • ericstrattonrushchairmandamngladtomeetyou

      Well Senator this is going to surprise you but I am totally against losing the Cocktail Party as a neutral site game. Ian about winning that game—that’s all. I don’t care about nice fall trips to the beach, Cocktail parties in Ponte Vedra or golf outings on St. Simon’s Island. For years I felt that playing the Cocktail Party in JAX was a disadvantage to the Dawgs. I have completely changed my mind on this. The disadvantage was that for years FU had a bye week before the Cocktail Party but Georgia did not. That was corrected in 2006 and the series evened up and now appears to be favoring the Dawgs once again. Truth is the Handbags couldn’t play the Dawgs on an even basis and Spurrier knew it so he got the FU AD to rig things in his favor by getting FU a bye week before playing us when Georgia did not have one. What pisses me off is that it took B-M so long (20+years) to recognize it. All those conference championships and 3 FU natties were won because of that advantage and should have an asterisk by them in the record books. FTMF.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Doggoned

        I have to admit, I always wondered about Florida having a bye week baked into the schedule every year before Jax, and why it took UGA so long to get there. I know the previous coaches must have wanted it, but I’ve never seen an explanation as to the holdup. Can anyone enlighten us?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. moe pritchett

    Please. Just use the KISS principle; divisions and two crossovers for a nine game. That pod shit just complicates life for everyone and it destroys even more of the tradition of CFB. UGA and CFB need those rivalries and traditions even more now that never before. NATS can be treated as a $ cupcake game. And we still have room for two directional games.

    Liked by 8 people

    • David K

      But what does South Carolina do? Will they keep Clemson on the schedule? FSU is a trainwreck now and likely not coming back anytime soon but if they’re back to their power status, does Florida want to play them with along with a 9 game conference schedule?

      Like

    • RangerRuss

      Good call, Moe. Screw all the speculation and fuck that pod shit.

      Liked by 10 people

      • akascuba

        Saban has long recommend 9 conference games. I believe is the likely outcome.

        I don’t want a pod system let me start there. I did hear one of Pawwl’s guests who works for ESPN mention if the playoff committee decides to punish the SEC and wants to threaten to stay at four games. The rebuttal threat could be OK we’ll expand our own league playoff. Four pods each pod winner gets in the four team SEC playoff. It’s always about the money anything else they say is bullshit.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Gaskilldawg

          NCAA rules do not allow an intraconfrrence playoff of more than 1 game. The rules treat conference championship games, bowls and the playoff final as postseason games. A member school may play 1 conference championship game, 1 bowl game and 1 cfp final. The proposed playoff expansion would require NCAA rule change to allow a cfp quarterfinal and play in game.
          The NCAA member schools aren’t going to permit the SEC to play conference championship semifinals.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Anon

        Soccer don’t play Pods RR—just want to remind you

        Liked by 3 people

    • biggusrickus

      Divisions work okay if you have a 10-game schedule. If not, you’d be looking at a decade and a half between teams from the other division showing up on your schedule. You may as well have two different conferences at that point. i could see pods with a permanent crossover game working reasonably well. The only problem I see is balance, but something like this would probably work:

      Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina
      Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State
      Texas A&M, Auburn, Kentucky, Vandy
      Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri

      You might have to flip Auburn and LSU depending on how much you want to keep either the LSU-Florida or LSU-Alabama rivalries going on an annual basis.

      Like

    • stoopnagle

      Give me Florida, Auburn and South Carolina every year and rotate the rest. All. Day. Long.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. HirsuteDawg

    Just have the Commodores, Volunteers and Gamecocks play everybody else – there would be your 3 cupcake games right there.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. artistformerlyknownasbman

    If we had McGarity still in place, he would offer to play at Auburn, on the weekend of their choosing, in consecutive years through 2028 if it would help.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. otto1980

    UGA gets UF, Auburn, and likely S. Carolina which I am fine with. As I have posted I have no interest in following the SEC football if UGA/UF and/or UF/Auburn are not annual.

    If you split the team into divisions. LSU and Mississippi schools are in the west with their traditional rivalries lost. The rotation would be slow enough even with a 9 game SEC schedule that the SEC is more 2 conferences with a quarter final playoff game.

    The SEC has a big problem here. They need to keep rivalries as well as keep the closeness/history of the SEC. If they do not keep both as discussed here in other topics, the give a shit of the fans falls off as it fades. Mickey may have finally killed the magic of SEC football with their greed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think the LSU/Florida rivalry as an annual event would be missed by many on either side.

      To me, it’s pretty much a given that some rivalries are going to lose their annual status, no matter what configuration is selected.

      Liked by 6 people

      • unionjackgin

        I hope we can preserve the UGA-Auburn game as it is a game that I look forward to having each year but I am not optimistic about it. If we go to 3 permanent opponents I am more hopeful. I would be fine with Auburn and Florida as 2 of the 3.

        Not sure who I would want to be the third:

        Vandy – Nashville is a great city and we would definitely win more than not
        Kentucky – As long as the game is played so we get to see the Fall season at Keeneland
        Tennessee – Decent amount of history between us and Knoxville also not a bad trip
        South Carolina – Most likely but can we please play the games in Columbia at a time of year when that stadium is not as hot as the gates of Hell?
        Missouri – No

        What would be interesting is if our third permanent was another SEC West team (very unlikely) but I think playing Texas every year with a trip to Austin every other year sounds great.

        Liked by 4 people

        • miltondawg

          My vote would be for Kentucky in mid October so that the ponies are a road trip every other year, UF in Jax as usual, and Auburn back to November. Missouri, South Carolina, and Vandy are all a hard no vote from me. Tennessee would be okay I guess, but Kentucky is a much better trip.

          Liked by 3 people

      • theotherdoug

        I think losing the LSU vs Bama game is a big deal, but ESPN would be happy with Bama playing UGA and UF every year. The LSU fans would cry, but whatever. Ole Miss and MSU would publicly complain, but behind closed doors be excited to not play Bama every year.

        The biggest hurdle to 9 games is guaranteeing the bottom half of the conference a bowl game.

        Like

        • miltondawg

          I think in their secret heart-of-hearts and regardless of what they say publicly, LSU losing Bama in the short term while Saban is still the coach wouldn’t hurt the feelings of many Tiger fans.

          Liked by 3 people

      • otto1980

        The fans might miss LSU/UF but not the decision makers. However then again UF fans don’t really understand history and come on go with their win loss record.

        LSU will be interesting to watch LSU/Ole Miss is still a big deal to many. Arkansas LSU is a big deal especially to Arkansas.

        Agreed some rivalries will be lost. I know where my line is and when I walk away. Fans do have a choice on how much they can take from organizations who want their money but won’t listen to what they enjoy.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. classiccitycanine

    I’m glad to see my preferred option of 3 permanent opponents and 6 rotating to ones is gaining traction.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. On second thought isn’t the former UGA AD leading the group in JAX that host the WLOCP and wasn’t he formerly employed by the UF?
    What could go wrong??!!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Agreed Senator; two divisions and a nine-game conference slate. My preference is to move Auburn and Alabama to the East and send Mizzou to the West. Would make our season ticket packages so much more appealing.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. 3 permanent opponents? Florida, Auburn and we get Vandy as our permanent homecoming game.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Teacher Martin

    Adding Bama to the west would mean UGA will never win a National Championship.

    Like

    • Teacher Martin

      That should be East instead of West. Before y’all get your pantries in a wad I know Bama is already in the West.

      Like

      • ericstrattonrushchairmandamngladtomeetyou

        We have to get past Bama to win a natty anyway, during the regular season, in the SECCG or in the playoff. Might as well play ‘em in the regular season.

        Liked by 3 people

      • theorginaldawgabides

        According to you, we’ll never win another NC regardless. And I always keep my pantry in good order, dickwad.

        Liked by 6 people

    • Greg

      SO……there is no hope??

      Liked by 2 people

      • Derek

        When you’re the guy who said we couldn’t beat Auburn in 2020, what do you expect? Optimism?

        Just more woe is us pessimism. The thing that really pisses me off is that these annoying whiners will look like just like any other real fan when we win the title when obviously they are not. If there were any justice in the world they’d be forced to be as unhappy on that day as they are on every other day. At least for that one time, we’d actually enjoy their misery.

        Liked by 6 people

        • Greg

          Whichever way the wind blows for some, bandwagon fans. Fans of other teams/schools and etc. Got a few on here.

          Either you are or you ain’t…….if loving the Dawgs is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

          Always 15 & 0 FWIS, until we ain’t……always feel that we will win, have been right more than I am wrong.

          Like our chances this year, but then again…..what else is new – 😏

          Liked by 1 person

    • Migraine Boy

      Even if we lost to Bama in conference play, more years than not we’re going to be one of the 12 best teams in the nation

      Liked by 1 person

    • Quite the loser mentality there if I’ve ever heard it. Why even bother playing tough teams in big, nationally showcased games. We should just stick to playing Sisters of the Poor and Georgia Tech in a 12 game rotation every year.

      Liked by 3 people

    • RangerRuss

      BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
      We gon see, ain’t we, fat boogie?

      Liked by 1 person

    • 79dawg

      Not sure where this notion that they’ll alwaysbe at the top comes from… I sat in Sanford when we beat the brakes off them in 2003, Fat Phil had a crazy long win streak against, and Senator Tubbs has a ring for the thumb… We’ve gone toe-to-toe with them the last half dozen times we’ve played and, while it seems like they get all the breaks against us (and everyone else other than Gus), the worm will turn.
      They are much more likely to hire Bill Curry Junior or Mike Shula III than an heir of Saban….

      Liked by 3 people

  11. kingcmo2000

    Isn’t the question “what does ESPN want?” Generally I think they’ll be aligned with most fans, as they’ll want more content (9 games) and more good games. But they probably won’t care about things like tradition or travel. Follow the money.

    Like

    • otto1980

      You’re likely correct. They still don’t understand that had they kept more tradition, they could have been making more money in NASCAR. Fans will react the same.

      Like

  12. DawgFlan

    I mapped out the 3 permanent opponents thing, and pretty much everyone would get to play their “top two” rivals and/or their in-state conference partner. We for sure get UF, Auburn, and SC. (We are SC’s #1 choice.)

    The only place across the SEC where it gets tricky for me is Tennessee and Kentucky. I start with UT getting both Bama and Vandy (UT/Bama for history and Bama’s #2 choice, and UT is Vandy’s #1 choice), leaving a choice between UF and UK for #3.

    The UF-UT game is only a ~30 year tradition, but “3rd Saturday in Sep.” has (had?) been a biggish deal. That would leave UK with Vandy, SC, and UF. The UT/UK series has a longer history, plus is a bigger rivalry from UK’s perspective. There was even the whisky barrel trophy for a long time. If you make UT/UK happen, then UT/UF goes away and then UF gets Vandy (along with KY and UGA).

    Like

  13. 86bone

    I have learned to not fret over things out of your control. Let’s just go to Charlotte and whip Clemson’s ass, the rest will all fall into place.

    Liked by 7 people

  14. debbybalcer

    I like your option too.

    Like

  15. MGW

    8 SEC games, 3 permanent, and we home and away everyone else every 4 years sounds ideal. We’re acting like one conference, and it leaves room for meaningful non-conference games/rivalries.

    Like

  16. I’m a fan of a 9-game schedule regardless of the model, but the three permanent is by far my favorite. It preserves WLOCP and DSOR while still assuring we play every other team every two years?! That’s amazing. After that, I like large divisions (again, due to maintaining Florida and Auburn,) My least favorite are four static geographical pods. Why should we play Kentucky every year but not Auburn?

    At the end of the day, I can be a selfish GA fan and say that I don’t give a F what happens to the entire conference as a whole (hell, add Oregon and Ohio State to the “southeastern” conference, go nuts!) but don’t you dare take my rivalry with Auburn and Florida. As long as we maintain those games, do whatever you want.

    Liked by 3 people

    • MGW

      I’m surprised we don’t see more of the mentality of your last paragraph around the country. For example, I would love to see someone like West Virginia just say “look we’d love to join the ACC or wherever, but first we’re getting a deal where we know we can play Pitt, and Marshall every year.”

      What value to viewers and fans do schools like that even have without their core rivalries? I hope schools and networks come around to that fact one day. For now it’s the fastest money for ESPN, and only the fastest money for ESPN, that matters.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. ericstrattonrushchairmandamngladtomeetyou

    I said this on another thread but it bears repeating here. UGA must be vigilant on scheduling if the SEC goes to 9 games. If the normal schedule for Georgia would be 4 home SEC games, 4 away SEC games and 1neutral site game (the Cocktail party) I guarantee you that some year the conference office will want Georgia to switch to a 3-5-1 schedule “to make the league schedule fit.” Not only no to that but HELL NO!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. 69Dawg

    Why don’t we just listen to Mickey’s mouth pieces and learn from them what Mickey wants. Mickey always enjoys the Deep Souths oldest rivalry so it will be Auburn for sure. Same with the WLOCP so UF is in. That leaves UT or USCe. Well I’m old enough to remember we used to not play UT that much before the 14 team deal and USCe was a big deal as an out of conference game. (Herschel Vs George Rogers). We need USCe to keep our South Carolina and North Carolina recruiting presence. I really don’t care about the other guys. Let the bottom dwellers play other bottom dwellers and get them bowl eligible. Some years the schedules are going to be brutal but interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MGW

      I think it would be USC simply because saddling UT with both Bama and UGA at this point would be…. pretty extreme. But it would definitely be happening to Auburn so who knows?

      Like

  19. otto1980

    All options on the table……

    They essentially confirmed that they’re making it up as they go along.

    Aren’t you comfortable with who is trusted to keep the great American sport going?

    Like

  20. Tony BarnFart

    Not a lot to worry about on the fairness / avoidance in the 3 permanent 6 rotating setup. One team’s permanent opponent allocation can hardly make their total schedule so easy when you throw a new 6 on and off the schedule every year or every other year.

    Like