Category Archives: SEC Football

The beginning of a beautiful friendship

Really, this is going about as well as I expected.

Feel the excitement!

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Filed under Fall and Rise of Bobby Petrino, SEC Football

Always be complainin’.

Nick Saban’s working the refs.  Again.

However, amid the SEC’s internal debate over a future scheduling format, Saban wants more balance and equity than what has been proposed by league administrators in a nine-game model.

“I’ve always been an advocate for playing more [conference] games,” Saban says. “But if you play more games, I think you have to get the three fixed [opponents] right. They’re giving us Tennessee, Auburn and LSU. I don’t know how they come to that [decision].”

Here’s how, boss.

“They said they did a 10-year whatever,” the coach says. “Well, some of those years, Tennessee wasn’t as good as they’ve been in the previous 10 years, but now they are as good as they used to be before those 10 years.

“We got three teams and two of them are in the Top 10 and the other is in the Top 10 a lot,” Saban adds. “Look historically over a 25-year history, and the three best teams in the East are Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. You look historically at 25 years, Alabama, LSU and Auburn are the three best teams in the West. So we’re playing them all.”

The SEC’s exact 10-year metric is unclear. But using league records from 2013–’22, the top half-finishers in winning percentage are Alabama (88.8), Georgia (79), Oklahoma (78.2), LSU (63.4), Florida (57.3), Texas (54.3), Auburn (53.6) and Texas A&M (53). The bottom half is Missouri (47.5), Mississippi State (46.3), Ole Miss (44.4), Tennessee and South Carolina (both 41.4), Kentucky (39), Arkansas (25.6) and Vanderbilt (19.7). Big 12 records were used for Oklahoma and Texas. Presumably, those in the top half of the conference over the past decade will play two other teams in the top half and one in the bottom half. Those in the bottom half will play two in the bottom and one in the top half.

Remember, all he’s bitching about here is having to play one team every season instead of every other season.  But Nick Saban didn’t get to be the GOAT without sweating the small stuff.

67 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules, SEC Football

Where have all the OCs gone?

Mike Griffith notes that ten SEC schools will have new offensive coordinators this season.  It’s worth noting that, even as it makes his attempt at fashioning a ranking of the fourteen pretty much a waste of time.

The teams that return their OCs are Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, LSU and Florida.

Needless to say, there’s gonna be a lot of hit and miss in those hiring decisions.  Who clicks and who doesn’t?  And in light of that, does Griffith have a valid point that Smart hiring Bobo as something of a known quantity makes sense?

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

Welcome to the SEC

I can see it won’t take long for Texas to get into the swing of things.

Hey, it never hurts to ask.

It’s like watching the opposite of Greg McGarity in action.

51 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

Mark your calendars

A brief announcement…

If Greg Sankey means what he says, I suspect a lot of the questions will be about the new conference scheduling format, but we’ll see.

21 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

“Sixteen teams + nine games = It Just Means More Buyouts.”

Stewart Mandel ($$) lays out the case for why, at least before now, there’s been reluctance in certain quarters for the SEC to embrace a nine-game conference schedule.

Meanwhile, there’s a reason Texas A&M came out in such vocal opposition. For nine years, the Aggies’ one crossover opponent was South Carolina, against whom they’re 8-1. They will go from that to an annual game against Texas and every other year (or twice in four years) dates with Oklahoma and with Georgia, who they’ve played just once in 11 seasons. Missouri has been both playing in the weaker division and getting an annual crossover with Arkansas, against whom it’s 7-2. The Tigers may keep Arkansas but add Oklahoma, and add every-other-year games with Alabama and LSU.

… But moving from eight games to nine and adding two more bluebloods is not exactly ideal for the likes of Kentucky, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. It’s no coincidence that Mark Stoops’ one losing season in the last seven years was in 2020 when the Wildcats played an all-SEC schedule. Kentucky, which plays two G5s, one FCS and Louisville every year, is 25-3 in those games since 2015, which just so happens to coincide with the longest bowl streak in school history. There will be one less automatic W beginning in 2024.

For the ‘Bamas, Georgias and LSUs of the conference, that ninth game is pretty much a win-win once the 12-team CFP is a reality.  The SEC’s elite programs are going to have their tickets punched even if they suffer a conference loss now and then.  And, yes, SEC teams that manage to win nine games under the new format are likely to be rewarded with a better bowl game for their efforts.  But for the muddled middle, things aren’t so clear.  How much money does it take to assuage their feelings?  I assume we’ll soon find out.

25 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Where the money goes

Interesting financial comparison between the football programs at Alabama, Auburn and Georgia here.

Note those expenses for support staff and recruiting.  Kirbs don’t stint there.  (By the way, Florida led the conference in support staff spending, so there’s a lesson in the difference between spending wisely and just spending in there somewhere.)

Also, this.

We’re there for you, Georgia football.  As always.

29 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

Eight or nine

Andy Staples’ ($$) shot:

And let’s be clear: There is only one correct format. Several schools pushed last year for the league to remain at eight conference games. Each team would have one permanent rival and the other 14 schools would rotate through the remaining seven spots twice every four years. This would be a massive mistake, and I don’t expect the SEC schools to make this mistake.

In case I haven’t made myself clear enough, I’ll repeat what I wrote Saturday in a column about the new version of college football coming in 2024:

If you have Texas and Texas A&M in your league and you don’t have them play football annually, you are stupid. If you hijack the league schedule for almost 20 years to ensure Alabama and Tennessee play every season and then stop playing that series annually just when it’s getting fun again, you are stupid. If you stop playing the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry (Auburn-Georgia) annually so Mississippi State can schedule another easy win, you are stupid.

Greg Sankey’s chaser:

“We’ve been intentional about discussing our ability to have annual rivalries played or rivalries played every other year. We haven’t arrived at a destination between eight or nine games. The number of games will facilitate the number of annual games that take place,” Sankey said.  [Emphasis added.]

I agree with Staples that, from a fan’s perspective, a 1-7 conference scheduling format in a 16-team league is a little dumb.  But Greg Sankey isn’t a fan.  He’s a commissioner who’s in the process of juggling two balls, one of which is the schools that want to stick with an eight-game conference schedule for bowl eligibility purposes (and you thought bowls were meaningless, eh?), the other of which is Mickey’s checkbook.  What Sankey is selling to his flock is the prospect that adding another conference game once Oklahoma and Texas come onboard should be worth some serious money to ESPN.

But what if the two sides can’t come to an agreement over that?  Sankey’s got nothing to take back to the holdouts and from a negotiating standpoint, why would he give away something he argues has significant value?  Bottom line, and I know this is a minority opinion, unless the SEC gets some real money for the extra games, I think they stay at eight for the time being.  And sell the fans on “rivalries played every other year”.

73 Comments

Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

TFW bowl eligibility is more important than math

Shot.

Chaser.

You can take Dan Mullen out of Mississippi State, but you can’t take Mississippi State out of Dan Mullen.

38 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Welcome to the 16-team conference.

Now comes the hard work.

SEC athletic directors met last week in New Orleans for their annual winter gathering. Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte and Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione were in attendance. For nearly a year now, the league has been attempting to finalize a new future scheduling format, an ordeal complicated by the uncertainty of Texas’s and Oklahoma’s arrivals. With that now set, administrators are expected to determine a format this spring. They’ll meet again in March in Florida.

While many administrators are now leaning to move to a division-less, nine-game conference schedule, additional revenue from ESPN is a missing piece in that decision. With more inventory—an extra league game—the conference wants more cash. In the nine-game format, each team would play three permanent opponents and a rotation of six others, assuring that each member would meet every team in the league twice in a four-year cycle—once at home and once away.

They don’t really have a whole lot of time, probably about seven months or so to figure out the 2024 schedule format.  And while one area of tension — the coaches and ADs who prefer an eight-game conference schedule versus those who want the additional revenue a nine-game scheduling format should bring — has been apparent all along, there are other issues that complicate things.

The answer to that probably depends on how much Mickey is willing to sweeten the deal.  We shall see.

In the meantime, enjoy several months of speculation about how member schools’ permanent opponents will be allotted.  It’ll be the media’s shiny new toy to play with for a while.  (The behind the scenes manuvering promises to be epic, as well.)

61 Comments

Filed under SEC Football