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SEC: Not A 9-Game Schedule Now

When South Carolina president Harris Pastides said over the weekend that the SEC would go to a nine-game conference schedule, we said, “told ya so.”

When SEC PR man Charles Bloom — and a host of SEC athletic directors — quickly said the league was staying at eight games per year, we said, “not for long.”

So now comes word from SEC Executive Associate Commissioner Mark Womack that the league will not go to a nine-game schedule “at this point.”  So would the league ever go to a nine-game format?  “I don’t know.  That would be up to our ADs and presidents to look at it.  The past has indicated there’s been little support for that.”

He also told The Birmingham News, “I think (Pastides) believes it’s something we’re certainly going to look at or thought it might be an idea.  But it’s a topic that really hasn’t had a lot of discussion at this point.”

“At this point” being a key phrase in all of that.

As we told you yesterday, the president of an SEC school doesn’t make up theories and pass them off as fact to his own student-newspaper.  Pastides said a nine-game conference schedule is coming.  He said schools would have to buy out one of their upcoming non-conference games.  He even guaranteed that Arkansas and South Carolina would continue playing as cross-divisional rivals.  That’s a lot of details for something he “thought” the league “might” consider.

Our take on this matter remains unchanged.

The SEC’s presidents discussed scheduling on some level when they decided to vote in Missouri.  To suggest they never considered scheduling or the impact it would have on their universities’ bottom lines is ridiculous.

Pastides opened his mouth on what most see as the obvious long-term fix.  (We broke it down way back in October and explained why a nine-game schedule would be the best option.)

But coaches and ADs are against the move.  They believe a nine-game schedule will be too difficult and could cost their schools home dates each year.

For that reason, Mike Slive is likely doing what he always does before a key vote… he’s politicking.  When Slive brought up the oversigning issue heading into this past spring’s SEC meetings, most assumed the league’s presidents would defer to their coaches and vote to do nothing.  We suggested that Slive wouldn’t bring the issue to a vote if he didn’t know beforehand that he had the votes needed to make changes.  And he did.  And the coaches were ignored.  And a soft 25-man signing cap was put in place.

Slive is a sharp man.  He knows that the SEC would suffer if schools like Florida and Alabama, Georgia and LSU, Arkansas and Missouri see each other just once every 12 years.  He’s no doubt formulated his plan.  The presidents have an idea of what that plan is. 

But the athletic directors haven’t had their meeting with the commish yet.  When they do, we believe they’ll walk away with the knowledge that the SEC will be going to a nine-game schedule at some point in the not-so-distant future.

 


11 comments
jcmufan
jcmufan

Here's an example of how a 9 game conference schedule could work: I'm a Mizzou fan so I will use them as the example:
2012
3 home, 3 away versus the six teams in the Eastern division, the permanent crossover opponent (A&M), then Alabama (H), and Auburn (A)
2013
3 home, 3 away versus division teams, A&M, Alabama(A), Auburn (H)
2014
3 home, 3 away versus division teams, A&M, Ole Miss (H), Miss St (A)
2015
3 home, 3 away versus division teams, A&M, Ole Miss (A), Miss St (H)
2016
3 home, 3 away versus division teams, A&M, LSU (H), Arkansas (A)
2017
3 home, 3 away versus division teams, A&M, LSU (A), Arkansas (H)
2018
3 home, 3 away versus division teams, A&M, back to Alabama and Auburn (and it has only been 5 years since they last played each other)

Seems simple enough, still have room for 3 non-conf games. Only holdup is if teams want more non conf.

naterhawk
naterhawk

A little formula for everyone to remember when scheduling any number of games for any number of teams...you CAN'T schedule an odd number of games for an odd number of teams. You can scheduled an even number of games for an odd number of teams, an odd number of games for an even number of teams, or an even number of games for an even number of teams.
What I'm referring to is the proposal to schedule 5 divisional games for 7 teams within a division. Try it once - it's impossible.
You're asking that each team misses one team within their division. So LSU misses Mississippi, Alabama misses Arkansas and Auburn misses Mississippi State. Who's A&M miss? That's what I'm getting at. You can schedule a round-robin or you could schedule each team missing 2 opponents...not 1 though, at least with 7 teams. It's what prohibbitted the Big Ten from going to a 9-game schedule for years. It can't be done.

jcmufan
jcmufan

9 game schedule makes the most sense. It also guarantees the longest wait for any two teams to play each other would be 5 years. You have six games against your divisional opponents (3 home, 3 away), each team plays its permanent cross division rival, then select two of the remaining six teams and schedule a home and home over the two year period. Leaves room for 3 non-conference games in the schedule to fill.

S.r. Foster
S.r. Foster

I see 9 games coming as a function of increased TV inventory for network renegotations and more games for the coming-SEC Network.

John
John

OK. I am math deficient. I can understand how under an 8 game schedule Mo-Ark wouldn't happen for 6 years but how do we get to the conclusion it wouldn't happen for 12 years?

John

FCDore
FCDore

It's not like the SEC would be going into unchartered waters with a 9-game schedule. The Pac 12 and Big 10 have it in place now, and you don't hear too many complaints about the "4-home, 5-away" scenarios. The Big 10 is also moving to a 9-game schedule in 2017. Going to a 9-game schedule is an inevitability.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

FCDore...

The ACC will go to nine games as well with Virginia Tech's AD already mentioning 10 games as a possibility. When every other league is playing nine conference games, the "how will we get to a bowl" argument will be moot... everyone will be facing the same "we beat each other up" problem.

You are correct, nine's going to happen.

Thanks for reading,
John

MikeTheTiger
MikeTheTiger

One creative solution would be to change the make up of the divisions every 6 years. Go with 4 pods: North = Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vandy. East = S. Carolina, Georgia, Florida. South = Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Miss St. West = LSU, Arkansas, A&M. Start out with NE and SW divisions. That is, add A&M to the West and Missouri to the East. After a 6 year cycle, you switch to NW and SE divisions. You keep certainly rivalries protected throughout the process (Alabama-Tennessee, LSU-Ole Miss, Auburn-Georgia, etc.). The net result is that each school plays 2-4 teams every year, 2-4 teams only once every 6 years, and the other 6-10 teams 7 times every 12 years. I know it's too out there for the SEC to actually adopt it, but it is a way to maintain rivalries AND play most of the conference regularly without having to go to a 9-game schedule.

FourThinInches
FourThinInches

If they go to 9 games, it will be after they renegotiate their TV Deal. Now, the problem with 9 games, if of course the obvious. Uneven number of home games in the conference. This will affect season ticket sales, etc.

lodger16
lodger16

How to keep the 8-game sked AND avoid 6-yr average gap between cross-division teams-each team simply skips one divisional team each year! So there will be 5 divisional games and 3 cross-division games, like now. Every team except A&M and MO would have one every-year divisional game, to preserve AL-AUB, MS-MS ST, LSU-ARK, GA-FL, etc. Does it matter much if SC and TN don't play once every six years? This maintains most of the divisional feel, losing only 1/6 of it. I doubt that's more unfair than the current arrangement, where some cross-division rivalries are harder than others, some get a break on cross-division games, etc. There is going to have to be some flexibility to avoid a 9-game sked. Coaches are correct that the 9-game sked would make it very hard for some teams to ever get to a bowl game!

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

lodger16...

So in a year like this year, Alabama and LSU might not have played? What would your tiebreaker be for sending one or the other to the SEC Championship Game?

John

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