Category Archives: SEC Football

TFW you don’t have time for that traditional shit

Gotta tell you, this off the cuff comment from Smart didn’t sit well with me.

Yeah, losing a 100+ year old tradition game is no big deal.

I think even he realized he overshot the mark with that, as he tried to play the nuance game later ($$).

That schedule variance is carrying the day here, even if it’s at the expense of traditional rivalries. Auburn-Georgia, for instance, would be reduced to twice every four years in the eight-game format, which Smart agreed “would be tough.” But not so tough that Smart is using it to publicly lobby for the nine-game format.

“There’s so many people that want that historic rivalry, including me. I grew up with it; it’s one of the best there is,” Smart said. “But it’s one of the costs of progress, bringing two more teams in. One of the costs of scheduling and getting more balance, getting to play everybody.”

In Kirby’s world, the only tradition that matters is making the CFP.  Everything else is maleable.



Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

That’s so SEC, SEC.

They haven’t even finished fucking up this round of conference scheduling and they’re already pondering their next mess.  Gotta love it.


Filed under SEC Football

Splitting the scheduling baby

How it’s starting…

How it’s probably gonna go.

As officials arrive Monday for this week’s meetings, they are (hurray!) closer to a resolution on the scheduling format. But it’s not what many expected.

Under consideration is a one-year, temporary eight-game conference schedule in 2024 that will, at least for one year, preserve both primary and secondary rivalries.

Why eight? Capilouto’s concerns are echoed by many in the league. What’s the impact of a ninth league game on an athlete’s health? And how will the selection process play out in an expanded CFP?

But a third question has lingered and gone mostly unanswered for a year now: the extra money from ESPN, which is not contractually required to provide more money for a ninth game.

Without the incentive of additional revenue from the network, more than half of the league is in support of remaining at eight games in the first year that Texas and Oklahoma begin play in 2024. The expectation is that ESPN, in the midst of layoffs, will not commit to additional revenue for a ninth game—at least not now.

The temporary, one-year eight-game model is a placeholder for a potential nine-game schedule to start in 2025, if ESPN enhances the deal.

Boy, that has the sad inevitability of truth to it.  Dreams die hard, especially when they’ve got a dollar sign floating in front of them.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

When they say it’s not about the money, SEC spring meetings edition

Nothing like rolling out the greatest hits.

“It is very fair to say that it is not just about the money,” says Kentucky president Eli Capilouto. “As we focus more on student-athlete well-being, one has to understand the implications of this in light of new (CFP) formats and length of the season. What does it all mean in a bigger context is what we should consider. What does it mean for bowl participation and length of season? All those things come first.”

Bonus points for the doing it for the kids reference… although that “focus more” is a bit revealing, no?

Yeah, right.

Jeff Schultz ($$):

The reality is that even if the SEC rejects a proposal to increase each football team’s conference schedule from eight to nine games, every member school still will be able to do the Scrooge McDuck swan dive into a pile of gold coins. Because when every university from Georgia to Vanderbilt begins the year with a $50 million distribution from conference media rights before ever having to schmooze a donor or sell a ticket, a T-shirt or a $7 hot dog, there’s not a lot of motivation to change.

This is why I have no sympathy for the Haves versus Have-Nots debate in the conference. If Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State want to complain they can’t compete with the revenue streams at Georgia, Alabama and Texas A&M, they can always leave the SEC and take less of a financial guarantee somewhere else.

Heh.  Whatever else happens this week, I don’t foresee a rush to the exits.


Filed under SEC Football

Keeping ’em guessing

One more note from that Dennis Dodd article:

Now balance that against the desires of media rightsholders. In general, more is better when it comes to televising conference games. Now take the No. 1 league on the planet and add eight more games (in a nine-game format) and eyeballs become even stickier on the SEC.

ESPN will have an active voice in the discussion. SEC membership has not been told how much extra ESPN is willing to pay for a ninth game, according to 247Sports.

Does that mean Mickey hasn’t told Sankey, or Sankey hasn’t told the schools?  If it’s a case of the former, that’s actually a good negotiating strategy — make the conference show its cards first.  If it’s the latter, though, that makes me think Sankey doesn’t want to be the bearer of bad news… yet.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

Doing it for the coaches, when it just means more

Kentucky’s coach yearns for a simpler time.

“Since I’ve been in the league, there have been 23 head coaches fired,” said Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, who is entering his 11th season with the Wildcats. “When they add a ninth game, that percentage is only going to go up.”

Yeah, financially speaking, we’ve all seen how there’s nothing worse than being a fired SEC head coach.


Filed under SEC Football

Random SEC conference game scheduling thought

Consider this:  if you’re Greg Sankey, you’ve been adamant that the additions of Texas and Oklahoma, plus a nine-game conference schedule, bring greater value to your broadcast contract beyond what’s already been negotiated.  If ESPN refuses to budge, why would you turn around and give them the extra games for nothing?


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

All in this together


Seven schools prefer expanding the schedule to nine games, sources told 247Sports this week. Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi State and South Carolina oppose the nine-game model. Both models eliminate the SEC’s Eastern and Western divisions, and will require new tiebreaker rules…

Meanwhile, three schools remain on the fence in the scheduling debate — Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee — and Vanderbilt has remained silent in industry circles, sources told 247Sports.

I assume the fence sitters are waiting to see if Sankey is able to get Mickey to deliver on a bigger financial package for nine games.  If not, they’re likely no votes.

Unlike some, I don’t begrudge the Mississippi schools and Vanderbilt their place in the conference.  There’s history there and those schools do have some programs — not football, of course — that are competitive nationally.  What I do begrudge is the selfish prioritization of bowl eligibility and an extra home game against a cupcake over the logic of a nine-game conference schedule in a sixteen-team conference.  And being pissy about guarantee game cancellations at a time when a giant new TV contract is rolling in?  Give me a break.

As for Auburn taking a stance that would end the Georgia rivalry as an annual series… well, fuck you, Tigers.


Filed under SEC Football

It’s the conference grind, stupid.

For all the grief the Dawgs are getting about the weakness of their schedule, it’s worth noting that, according to ESPN’s CFPI, while their strength of schedule ranks last in the conference, it’s still 31st nationally.

That’s higher than all but two ACC teams, all but three Big 12 teams and all but one Pac-12 team.  (Credit where credit is due to the Big Ten, I guess.)

And, remember, one reason their SOS takes a hit is because they don’t play Georgia.  It’s kind of like they’ve self-Dawgraded.


Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Is it nut cutting time for Greg Sankey yet?

The SEC spring meetings are next week.  Will the conference decide on a schedule format for 2024 then?  Who knows?  Maybe even Greg doesn’t.

If SEC officials meet for four days at a beach resort and no 2024 football schedule is approved, did it really even happen?

That question could become relevant after the SEC’s spring meetings next week in Miramar Beach, Florida.

For the second straight year, the SEC’s schedule format for ’24 and beyond will be a central topic of debate. No football schedule is approved after this season, the final year before the SEC expands to 16 teams.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told me in early March that he expected a vote on the schedule to occur within 90 days. In other words, by the end of spring meetings.

By April, he’d eased on that timeline.

“Could be,” Sankey said then, when asked if the schedule would be decided at the meetings. “But, I said that last year, too.”

Indeed, coaches and administrators debated eight- and nine-game schedule formats a year ago. No vote occurred.

I think it’s safe to say at this point that Sankey hasn’t made a convincing case to his broadcast partner that the additions of Oklahoma and Texas should accrue to the SEC’s financial benefit under their contract.  I also think it’s fair to say that momentum appears to be shifting away from the nine-conference game format.

Kentucky and South Carolina are among the schools on record favoring staying with eight SEC games. Florida, LSU and Texas A&M are among those favoring nine.

But the divide is not neatly divided among the SEC’s haves and have-nots. Sports Illustrated reported that Nick Saban told the publication Alabama favors sticking with eight conference games, a pivot from his years-long pandering for a ninth conference game. Saban’s stated hang-up with the nine-game format revolved around Alabama’s earmarked rivals being Auburn, LSU and Tennessee.

I mean, when you’ve lost Nick Saban…

One downside of sticking with eight conference games would be the sacrifice of some longstanding annual secondary rivalries, like Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia.

Eh, what’s a century’s worth of tradition, compared to appeasing Saban’s self-interest?


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, SEC Football