Divisions, divisive

I just have to laugh at Andy Staples’ cheerleading ($$) for the likelihood that the P5 over the next few years will ditch divisional play all in the name of coming up with a better delivery system for expanded playoffs — not because of his pitch, but because of where he winds up with it:

Eventually, realignment got the rule changed. The Big 12, reduced to 10 teams, wanted to reinstate its championship game midway through the last decade. The ACC had been playing in two divisions since 2005, but only the most hardcore fans could correctly identify which teams were in which division. So those leagues teamed up to ask for a change that loosened the requirements.

That’s how you get a No. 1 vs. No. 2 Big 12 championship game.

At the time, the Big 12 was playing the ideal conference format, a nine-game, round robin schedule.  Every conference team played every other conference team!  Why did they need a championship game?

Don’t answer that.  It’s a rhetorical question.

By the way, David Hale made a point about scrapping divisional play I hadn’t considered.

I could imagine some pushback from coaches if some conferences go divisionless, while others don’t, but I would also imagine that will fade away as the P5 takes a uniform approach.  Probably by the time the next CFP TV contract is being negotiated.  Because, money… oh, shit.  I just answered my rhetorical question.

47 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

47 responses to “Divisions, divisive

  1. guferuss

    I have no doubt that wherever this ends up it will be a wet blanket on those, like me, who are traditionalists and despise what the powers that be are doing to college football while they chase the almighty dollar. But I just have to say that while ACC fans may not be sure what teams are in what division, 98.5% of SEC fanbases could correctly identify the teams in each division. It just means more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • MGW

      But they couldn’t tell you a thing about the stadiums the other side of the conference plays in because they don’t get to go to any of them but once every 12 years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gaskilldawg

        Well, we go to Auburn every other year, and we played a road game against Arkansas in 2014 and 2021 (you are correct that we did not play 2014 in Fayetteville) . We played in Oxford in 2011 and 2016.
        You are 100% correct that with the current scheduling model it is likely that we will play all but Auburn and the road once every 12 years, which many don’t like.

        Historically some teams went decades playing each other on the road. For example, we played LSU in Red Stick in 1952 and not again until 1978. We played Miss State in the State of Mississippi in 1951 then again in 1966. We played in Starkville in 1951. It was 31 years before we played in Starkville again. SEC has always rationalized play within a rationalized sport.
        I am with you on the desire to find a way to play more SEC teams in shorter windows.

        Liked by 1 person

        • bmacdawg87

          I still like the 3 annual opponents and rotating the other 10, 5 & 5. This way you get to play every team at least every other year and in every opponents stadium every 4 years and maintain most traditional rivalries. Makes too much sense to ever be put in place.

          Liked by 1 person

          • bmacdawg87

            And to keep the status quo when OK and TX arrive, just move to 9 conference games and dump one of the cupcakes.

            Like

  2. MGW

    I just want to play the entire (current) West in the regular season, home and home, on at most a 5 year cycle. Four is possible and of course much better. As in an athlete using all his eligibility should play in every conference stadium. A student should have the opportunity to see the entire conference play in Sanford stadium during his time in Athens.

    The current arrangement is literally as bad as it could possible be. The East and West are currently separate conferences with a loose scheduling arrangement and a championship game. It’s f’n cold and boring. It could be so much better and there isn’t a single good reason it isn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tony BarnFart

      HERE HERE ! It is effectively two conferences. I want Oxford and Baton Rouge etc much more.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      Don’t disagree with your goal of playing every team within a narrow window. That said. I don’t want to stop playing some of our annual rivals every season. For me, Auburn and Florida are the most important.

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  3. MGW

    But they couldn’t tell you a thing about the stadiums the other side of the conference plays in because they don’t get to go to any of them but once every 12 years.

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  4. As long as scheduling doesn’t impact the South’s Oldest Rivalry as an annual game, I’m fine with anything proposed. If losing the game against Auburn is a price to pay to go to Tuscaloosa, Baton Rouge, Oxford, College Station, Norman or Austin more frequently, I’m out.

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    • PTC DAWG

      I’m willing to budge a little on this one..I’m in. F the barn, all it does it help their recruiting in Georgia.

      First game attended was 1969, so I know about playing the Barn. I’ve been to many games in Auburn…I know the history…I just don’t respect their fans enough to keep it.

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    • Biggen

      This is a big sticking point. Need to keep AU and GT on the schedule.

      Cross divisional rivalries are just too important.

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  5. mddawg

    I’m not sure I understand the continuity argument in that tweet. Is knowing that we play Tennessee, SC, Auburn, etc. years from now really an advantage? Are we prepping for those games right now? And if they scrapped divisions, wouldn’t the schedule still be set years in advance?

    Liked by 1 person

    • stoopnagle

      As Andy would say: “That’s what the money’s for.” For $8 mil a year, Kirby can prep for different teams each year.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      Apparently those folks who prepare teams for a living think so. I do not know enough about that profession to challenge their opinions.

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    • godawgs1701

      The better you know your opponent, the more times you face them, the less they can surprise you and the better you know them – that’s true in football, checkers, chess, rock-paper-scissors, anything.

      Like

      • Coaching staff and personnel have much to do with that.

        The turnover rate for team personnel is extremely high, and for staff in the SEC, only slightly less.

        Playing a logo every year is not the same as “playing the same opponent”.

        Liked by 1 person

        • godawgs1701

          I mean, I get where you’re coming from but the head coaches are there for several years in a row usually. The players are there three or four years in a row usually. The assistants and analysts rotate in and out a lot more often, sure, but that doesn’t suggest to me a complete lack of institutional memory and certainly not the same as playing a team for the first time in six or seven years.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. 81Dog

    Everyone has divisions now because the SEC went to 12 teams and split into divisions, then made the SECC a huge deal. It’s still a huge deal. Winning a division isn’t the end all be all, but in the SEC, it always matters.

    Other conferences haven’t made it work, or matter, nearly as well. So, of course they want to scrap the concept. If the price of keeping a traditional rival like AU is I only have to go to a garden spot like Starkville or College Station once every 12 years, sign me up. As for the “good crossover games” everyone clamors for, we get them. In the SECC.

    Me, I’d rather go back to 12 teams and give everyone else the finger. I’m ok with holding at 14, even. But if the price of an unwieldy 16 team conference is I have to give up games with traditional opponents so I can play games against teams we can already play in bowls or non-conference games, maybe plus ditch the SECC? Miss me with that bullshit. Zero interest in adding Texas or OU. it’s going to damage one of the things that make THE SEC great: historical rivalries with neighboring teams. I don’t know 5 OU, Texas, TAMU, or Missouri fans, but I know dozens of AU, Bama, Tech, TN fans.

    All this is because other conferences can’t compete with the SEC. They can’t just follow the template and be like the SEC, so they want to blow it up. I don’t care about wrecking all the things I love about CFB so suits in Manhattan, who only care about ad dollars, feel better about “the product,” or media people who get paid to cover games and want more games are happy.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Though the SEC had divisions since before I even enrolled at UGA, they’re not something I have much emotional attachment to. I don’t care how they do the scheduling as long as traditional rivalries like Florida, Auburn, and Tennessee are preserved and we get to rotate through the rest of the league more than once a decade. I’m not gonna shed many tears if we lose Mizzou, Vandy, etc. as annual opponents.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tony BarnFart

      Tennessee is NOT a traditional rival of ours. Vandy actually is.

      But agreed to rotating more. When we do rotate we’re definitely going to lose TN as an every year thing. But who gives a shit, we’ll still have them every other year or 2 in 4.

      Liked by 2 people

      • godawgs1701

        The Georgia-Tennessee annual rivalry is now old enough that it’s waking up with weird phantom muscle soreness and is freaked out that it gets occasional too-soon letters in the mailbox from AARP. And it’s provided a lot more competition in the lifetime of anyone that posts here than has the Vanderbilt rivalry, too. If something had to exist in the 70’s and 80’s to be a tradition, you’re right. I’m 41, though, and I consider Tennessee to be a traditional rival.

        Like

      • Calling Vandy a rival is like going to your 30 year reunion and having beef with the guy who put a “kick me” sign on your back in Jr High.

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        • Tony BarnFart

          Look, I agree with yall. I live in Tennessee, my wife went to Tennessee and my college years were 00-03, the most glorious feature of which was arguably the dominance over Tennessee.

          I only brought up Vandy because I’m actually a proponent of moving to the 3-5 divisionless model. Last time I proposed that, the old timers gave me shit about how long Vandy and Kentucky had been on the schedule, which is true, but not valuable enough to impede a move towards variety, PARTICULARLY GIVEN WE ARE OVERWHELMINGLY LIKELY TO KEEP THE TWO GAMES WE CARE ABOUT THE MOST along with South Carolina. If I can keep Florida, Auburn and South Carolina permanently, jesus, what’s NOT to like by spicing up the other 5 games ?!?! The trade is a NO BRAINER in this 40yr old’s opinion.

          In any event, the reality is that because of who we prioritize and who Tennessee prioritizes, it would likely be relegated to every other year status. I’m actually fine with that because (a) i think it’s worth the trade-off to see more of other original SEC members (b) we’d still play them far more than we did prior to 1992 anyway and (c) i don’t see Tennessee ever getting back to the place to make this rivalry as prominent as it was in the early 2000s. Georgia-Tennessee only ever became “BIG” because of Mark Richt and a window of a few years where it was arguably maybe second biggest game on the calendar.

          Like

    • stoopnagle

      Florida, Auburn, and South Carolina. Tennessee is a product of the divisions. We’ve played the Cocks a helluva a lot more (and they who are they gonna play anyway? We’re pretty much all they’ve got).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. stoopnagle

    If Georgia plays Florida, Auburn, and Tech every year, but I get more variety each year among the teams Georgia plays, then I’m going to be for that. I’ll even take playing South Carolina every year if it means I don’t have to see Mizzou every year and get to play LSU and Ole Miss more. I honestly don’t see the down side of 3 permanent conference games and rotating the rest so we play home-and-home with everyone else every 2-4 years. Sure beats the hell out of what we’ve got right now.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I have opinions, but don’t care terribly what happens.

    We got a natty in my adult lifetime. I’m good.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. PTC DAWG

    Anything with less Missouri and more anyone else is good for me.

    Like

  11. godawgs1701

    Paul Johnson’s on Line 1, Commissioner. You want to talk about someone who really got burned by having the same teams play him every single year and only getting to pick on two rotating opponents a year, look no further than Coach Fish Fry. A lot of programs struggled with stopping his offense the first couple of times they played it, but once you figured out that you had to spend time year-round working on it if you were going to play them every year (like Richt and Kirby eventually figured out) then it was pretty simple to stop enough times to pound them into the pavement. Doing away with ACC divisions might have helped him out a whole lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. PTC DAWG

    Whatever the SEC does, about half the conference/fans aren’t going to like it..much like Politics..I don’t envy their position here.

    Like

    • godawgs1701

      Their position gets a lot easier when you factor in the fact that they don’t really seem to care if people like what they do as long as the money spigot stays on, which it will.

      Like

  13. bmacdawg87

    Here’s a suggestion for what I mentioned above. Threw together in 10 minutes. Keeps all traditional rivalries and even reinstates some old ones. 9 game schedule with other 6 teams on a 2 year rotation so everyone plays everyone in the conference every other year and at every other stadium every 4 years. Top 2 teams play in the championship game with head to head being tiebreaker 1, record against common opponents tiebreaker 2, and Net YPP tiebreaker 3. Make it happen SEC.

    Georgia: Florida South Carolina Auburn
    Florida: Georgia Kentucky South Carolina
    South Carolina: Georgia Miss St. Florida
    Vanderbilt: Kentucky Tennessee Missouri
    Missouri: Texas A&M Oklahoma Vanderbilt
    Tennessee: Kentucky Vanderbilt Alabama
    Kentucky: Tennessee Vanderbilt Florida
    Auburn: Georgia Alabama LSU
    Alabama: Auburn Tennessee Ole Miss
    Miss St: Ole Miss LSU South Carolina
    Ole Miss: Miss St. Alabama Arkansas
    Arkansas: LSU Ole Miss Texas
    LSU: Arkansas Auburn Miss St.
    Texas A&M: Oklahoma Texas Missouri
    Oklahoma: Texas Texas A&M Missouri
    Texas: Oklahoma Texas A&M Arkansas

    Like

    • miltondawg

      Arkansas is a difficult one. Arkansas has played Texas and Texas A&M more than anyone else as a result of affiliation with the Southwest Conference and A&M joining the SEC for the 2012 season. Arkansas’ next two biggest long-standing rivals are Ole Miss and LSU.

      Oklahoma is the outlier in all this. Texas and Missouri have been historical rivals owing to the annual OU-Texas game for nearly 100 years. Missouri and Oklahoma have played a lot due to the old Big 8 having played nearly 100 times without playing in the last decade. I suppose that A&M would be a more natural permanent rival than anyone else in the SEC since they have played about 30 times in history. OU hasn’t played Arkansas more than 20 times in history if I am correct.

      I’m guessing that Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky couldn’t raise their hands fast enough in support of your plan with Vandy on their permanent schedule.

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      • bmacdawg87

        Of course it could be tweaked and would probably have to be, but it was really easy getting this together as a starting point. I just think it makes too much sense for everyone involved.

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    • Tony BarnFart

      You’d get way more serious howling by ending LSU-Ole Miss to keep LSU-Auburn even though that’s sorta been a more compelling game. LSU-Ole Miss is a pretty fierce rivalry and hopefully can remain in a more competitive state.

      Also, Auburn has a mighty tough permanent slate if you leave them with LSU. I’d give Auburn a permanent with Miss State and keep Ole Miss and LSU, then figure out a new 3rd for South Carolina.

      Like

      • bmacdawg87

        Funny you say that, I actually had that orignally with Auburn/Miss St. and Ole Miss LSU. But then I thought if there’s a team that deserves to get royally screwed by the SEC for once… it’s Auburn.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. whb209

    I have the perfect solution.
    My team just won the National Championship, so let’s just leave it the fuck alone. Everyone has enough money. UGA got paid, TV got paid and the bowls got paid. Leave it alone.

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  15. whb209

    TV and their money has too much power. Therefore my idea is just wishful thinking.
    Ain’t going to happen. Got to stick a dirty finger in the mix just because you can.

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    • bmacdawg87

      Problem is, that dirty finger has already been stuck in with the soon to be additions of OK and TX. Something is going to have to change when that happens. I’d just like to get to watch the Dawgs play the other teams we share a conference with more often than once every decade.

      Like