The header quote comes from Greg Sankey, who’s talking about conference scheduling. Yeah, he’s full of shit, but also yeah, Mike Slive screwed the pooch when he was forced to use conference expansion as a means of getting out of a bad TV deal he negotiated.
That being said, this soul searching about how to arrange for cross-division teams to see each other more frequently than they do now has a certain “everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it” flavor to it.
The most likely outcome for the 16-team SEC is to move from an eight-game league season to a nine-game league season, although that’s far from being set.
… The SEC’s specific 16-team alignment is still ambiguous. But there will be a guiding force in those conversations.
“How do you move [teams] through on a more frequent basis?” Sankey said. “That’s the work to be done. I want to use a principle and think through what options are generated from that principle. What options allow us to do that? I’m not walking away from some of those great events. Those create who we are. We’ll have to see how those play forward.”
Sounds like a plan.
The real tell here is that even as Sankey tries to put on a show of concern, there’s no sense that there’s a scheduling crisis now, even though there’s a 12-year home-and-home cycle for certain cross-division games. And why should there be? ESPN’s paying and the fans are paying. Whatever Sankey grudgingly comes up with, it’ll be only enough to maximize Mickey’s financial commitment to whatever the new, improved version of the conference can generate.
That’s the tradition Sankey respects the most.