Sounds like Jeff Long, selection committee head, has a world view informed by Jeff Long, SEC AD:
What are your thoughts on divisions in conferences? The Big 12 doesn’t have them, the other power conferences do. You look at the contrast between the SEC West and the SEC East last season. Are they needed? Should conferences look a different direction on the matter?
Long: Everybody’s views are based on where they are. I think conferences need divisions. I can speak to my situation at Arkansas. I like a division because my fans want to see us battle for a West title. If we’re late in the season and we have a chance to battle for the West title, fans are more likely to come. I think this is in general as well. If you’ve fallen out of the West race, your numbers of no-shows for your tickets are going to increase. So if you just have one conference without a division, you’re going to fall out of contention earlier in that process. To me, from an AD’s point of view, I want to sell tickets, I want my stadium full because that’s a better environment for my student-athletes to hopefully win a game, the home-field advantage, all those things. I like divisions because I’m going to be in that hunt for a division title longer, that’s going to keep my fans engaged longer.
Currently not every conference has a championship game and not every conference plays the same amount of conference games. Ideally, do you feel it would it be best if every league played the same amount of conference games and they either all had a championship game or they all didn’t?
Long: In a perfect world, yes.
Could you envision a scenario where that could become possible somewhere down the road, maybe in five or 10 years?
Long: I think there would have to be more conference landscape changes for that to happen, from my point of view. Generally, broad statement, would I like to see that happen? Generally, I would. But college football is unique and I don’t think we all need to be homogenous. So I don’t have strong feelings about this conference or that conference must do this.
But it would be nice if the Big 12 did… for the selection committee.