“Keeping things fresh while respecting traditions is what’s on my mind.”

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.

20 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

20 responses to ““Keeping things fresh while respecting traditions is what’s on my mind.”

  1. 81Dog

    We’re going to end up with 2 conferences: the real SEC in the East (add Alabama and Auburn, move Missouri west) and the SWC (Tex, TAMU, Ark, plus 2 Big 8 refugees in OU and Missouri) and LSU and the 2 Mississippi schools. Disney will see this as a perpetual OU/Alabama SECC (maybe Texas or LSU some years) and a reliable source of product in the regular season as the real SEC teams bludgeon each other weekly. Plus they get Texas/OU and Texas/TAMU.

    Me? I hate the idea of a 16 team league with every fiber of my being. Play Texas or OU as OOC games? Sign me up. This plan is “show me you don’t understand what makes the SEC special without telling me you don’t understand what makes the SEC special.” Corporate football is back in town!

    Liked by 6 people

  2. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    Maybe it will be like the olden days of NL champ(SEC east) vs AL champ(SEC West) before interleague play whored out baseball + the strike + roids to corrupt Hammerin’ Hanks numbers…sorry still bitter about it.

    To quote Ricky Bobby on SEC philosophy…”Well, Dick, here’s the deal: I’m the best there is, plain and simple. I mean, I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence. You know, nobody can hang with my stuff.”

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  3. akascuba

    I loved Mullen’s line “ I don’t need to play Oklahoma every year”.

    This goes wherever the most money is. I expect Georgia, FU and Auburn to be in the same division or pod as a way to protect those games. The rest is follow the money.

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  4. “sounds like a plan” gave me a good LOL as the kids say these days….

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  5. Corch Irvin Meyers, Former Jags Corch (2024)

    Nine games with no permanent crossover rival is probably a done deal, but after that, the other choices are all (predictably) bad for Georgia:

    1) Keep divisions, but move Bama and Auburn in the East, while Mizzou shifts to the West to join OU and Texas.

    2) Go to four divisions of four (I hate the word “pods”) where Georgia’s most likely division mates are Floriduh, Kentucky, and Sakerlina.

    So we either wind up playing Bama every year in the same division for the right to go to Atlanta OR we’re forced to give up The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry as a yearly game.

    At the end of the day, Bama is always going to get what they want (play Auburn and Tennessee every year) and Georgia is going to get screwed. So for Georgia fans, it comes down to what flavor of screwed do you want?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tony BarnFart

      Or we just go division-less and give everybody their own 3 unique permanent rivals. Rotate the other 6 on and off. Works somewhat similar to a 4×4 but it’s more flexible to give everybody, hopefully, 2 out of 3 permanents they really want. We can figure out a fair tiebreaker system when running into teams at the top who haven’t played.

      I am totally against two 8 team divisions. It’s unwieldy and it makes it effectively 2 separate conferences. A better version of the “alliance” with no real connection. If I have to swallow Texas and A&M, at least give me Austin and College Station.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. TripleB

    I’m not crazy about it either. Doesn’t seem very “Southeastern” to me anymore. As far as playing Bama and Florida every year, I’m ok with that. If we’re gonna be elite, we’ve got to be the team they hate to play every year, not vice-versa. Florida was the thorn in our side most years during my youth, now it’s Alabama. If we ever hope to turn that tide (pun intended), now is our best chance with Smart as the coach over the next several years.

    One more thought: I know most on this site don’t like the idea of expanding the playoff, but with our schedule likely getting way harder than others across the country with SEC expansion, it might be a good thing. In other words, if we have to have one (SEC expansion), I would prefer to also have the other (playoff expansion).

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Tony BarnFart

    I am going to be disappointed if this is two 8 team divisions. Stale and boring. In a 3 permanent scenario, you can bet your ass we will have Auburn and Florida. This is particularly true if we go to a DIVISION-LESS All-16 format—i.e. not pods—where we can give everybody their own unique 3 without forcing that into a concrete 4-some. In other words, Auburn and Florida don’t have to be joined at the permanent hip in order for UGA to play both every year (yes, I know those two used to play every year).

    All other 3rd opponents for us are fairly equal and a matter of diverging opinion amongst the fanbase. It would almost certainly be Kentucky or South Carolina. YMMV, but I’ll gladly push either one of those to an every other year status in order to have a pretty incredible variety to the schedule. Again, that may just me. I grew up out of state and live in SEC West territory, so maybe i’m biased. But why be in a “conference” if the damn thing is going to be about as ridiculous as the “alliance” ? Hell, we’ll get once-permanent Ole Miss back to an every other year thing……Bama every other year (Wally Butts smiles) …… LSU every other year…….OU every other year………Texas every other year. Fucking awesome.

    Vanderbilt can eat a bag of dicks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tony BarnFart

      One more thing: allow and encourage SEC teams to schedule each other as non-conference games in scheduling off years. Anybody who feels shafted by a cut to a game can keep it going and it won’t be part of the standings.

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    • Tony BarnFart

      (unless of course those two teams come down to a tiebreak amongst themselves)

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      • Down Island Way

        Move the barners to the east, add ou & ut to the west, practice with a 9 game schedule, call it a day…

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        • Tony BarnFart

          You’d still have to have a permanent inter-divisional game if you only move 1 of Alabama or Auburn. In which case, you’re 14 yrs between rotating inter-divisional stadium visits.

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    • Whiskey Dawg

      Hey Now! Careful about giving them bags of dicks. They’re a clever bunch. They’ll sew them all together and rub themselves up a QB.

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    • stoopnagle

      This is it: each team gets three permanent opponents and rotates all the others. There’s no “division” or “pod” in the sense that everyone in a group plays each other (it doesn’t have to be that way). I think our third would have to be SCar based on number of match-ups and, while we don’t see them as a main rival, they certainly view Georgia as one of theirs.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Screw it – Two 8-teamers. You play all 7 in your division, you play 4 from the other, you get 1 permanent non-conf rival, and you call it a day. No more Austin-Peay, no more SCState, no more UAB.

    We’re the kings of College Football, let the rest have their fiefdoms. I’m fine playing Clemson every year instead of Georgia Tech. Let Alabama kick the season off against USC annually. Hey OU, OSU is beggin for ya. Texas-ND annually? Hell, at least one of them will be quieted about their “shoulda been there” from week 1.

    You’re going to every stadium in the league within every 4 year set. And with the expansion of the SEC, that’s some prime real estate. Hell, you could even draw a decent 4-star to Vandy saying “Sure, you could GO to Alabama or OU or UGA or FL or Texas… but come here, and you’ll get to actually PLAY in all of those stadiums!”

    The rest of CFB wants to align against us? Ok. Screw ’em. Let ’em eat the table scraps.

    Liked by 1 person