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A Divisionless Set-Up Would Help The SEC In Football

The Southeastern Conference is facing a number of important questions as it prepares for the 2013 football season and beyond:

 

* How can the SEC protect the league’s oldest football rivalries and, in doing so, save what’s helped make the league so special — tradition?

* How can the SEC welcome in two new schools without completely destroying its current scheduling structure?

* Can the league accomplish its goals without eventually going to a nine-game conference slate?

 

The league’s coaches and athletic directors want no part of a nine-game schedule.  Despite the fact that the league kicked things into hyperdrive when it expanded its conference schedule from six to seven to eight contests in the early 90s, the current batch of administrators are scared to death of a move to nine games.  And regardless of the fact that it wasn’t that long ago that teams hosted as few as six home games per year in an 11-game season, most SEC power brokers claim they can’t afford to play fewer than seven home games per year in a 12-game environment.  (Too bad those multi-billion dollar TV contracts don’t cover the costs of a single home game lost every other year, huh?)

We at MrSEC.com still feel a nine-game slate with a 6-1-2 format would protect rivalries and allow cross-divisional teams to face one another on a regular basis.  But if the powers-that-be in college football move the bowl eligibility standard to seven wins, even we will throw in the towel on a nine-game slate.  No way it would happen.  SEC administrators in 2012 aren’t as daring, aren’t as brave, aren’t as visionary as those who made the league tougher and stronger twenty years ago.

If, then, an eight-game schedule is a must, the SEC must attempt to persuade the NCAA to abolish its current requirements for a conference championship game.  At the moment, a league must be divided into two divisions of at last six teams each with each team in a division playing every other team in its division.  Why the NCAA cares about such details is anyone’s guess, but for time being, that’s the rule that’s on the books.

Unfortunately, with an eight-game schedule and round-robin scheduling necessary, the SEC’s options are limited:

 

* Use a 6-1-1 format which would protect one permanent cross-divisional foe per team and set up a rotation in which one school would face the other six teams in the opposite division just twice every 12 years.  (Currently teams face non-divisional teams twice every five years.)

* Use a 6-2 format which would lessen the timespan between cross-divisional matchups… but would also end three of the SEC’s oldest annual rivalries: Auburn-Georgia, Alabama-Tennessee, Ole Miss-Vanderbilt.  (Sidenote: Just because your school might not have an important cross-divisional foe, that doesn’t mean the three games mentioned above don’t have history worth saving.  Those games are darn important to the schools involved.)

 

SEC officials have made it clear that the league won’t be moving teams from division to division anytime soon.  So you can hold off on the “move Auburn and Alabama to the East” talk.  That’s not happening in the short-term.  It’s also highly unlikely that games like Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee would be scheduled as non-conference games.  (Frankly, that’s absurd.)

Which brings us back to the following point: The SEC must persuade the NCAA to dump its requirements for a championship game.  If that were to happen, the SEC could go to a divisionless format that would allow the league to protect the conference’s oldest rivalries and keep a good rotation going for non-permanent foes.

Without divisions, the SEC could simply pair the teams with the two best SEC records in its championship game.  Forget the problem of having the two best teams in one division.  Without divisions, the two top teams in the league would always reach Atlanta.

Last week, we showed you how an 18-game schedule without divisions could be used to protect the oldest basketball rivalries in the SEC.  It’s simple, it’s clean, and it works.  And you wouldn’t need Pythagoras to help explain it to the folks at home.  “In even numbered years each team’s tertiary rival would supplant its secondary rival, etc, etc.”  Such mumbo wouldn’t be needed.  Our plan would be as easy as 1-2-3.  You can find that 4-1-8 basketball plan here.

Well, just as we set out to protect the oldest basketball rivalries with that format, we’ve done likewise with football’s most important games below.  It’s a 6-2 plan (six permanent opponents, two rotating foes) without divisions.  Teams would face their non-permanent opponents twice every seven years.  Each team would have four home and four road games per season.  And of the 23 SEC rivalries that have been played at least 60 times, 20 would be protected (and two of those lost aren’t currently being played as annual games anyway).

The set-up below — like the basketball plan mentioned above — would also help to create “local” rivalries for the SEC’s newest members.  Now, by protecting each schools’ oldest rivalries, the schedule is set up in such a way that just about every school would have to play either an SEC newcomer or a team from far across the conference.  Grab a spreadsheet, protect the oldest rivalries, and you’ll see what we mean.  Scheduling is not as easy as most people think.

That said, we think the following 6-2 MrSEC.com Non-Divisional Plan would be both fair and rooted in tradition.  We list each school’s permanent opponents from left to right.  All games played more than 60 times are noted:

 

School Permanent Foe 1 Permanent Foe 2 Permanent Foe 3 Permanent Foe 4 Permanent Foe 5 Permanent Foe 6
Alabama AU (76) LSU (75) MSU (96) MU UT (94) VU (83)
Arkansas UGA LSU MSU MU UM TAM (68)
Auburn ALA (76) UF (83) UGA (115) LSU MSU (85) USC
Florida AU (83) UGA (89) UK (62) MU USC VU
Georgia ARK AU (115) UF (89) UK (65) USC (64) UT
Kentucky UF (62) UGA (65) MU USC UT (107) VU (84)
LSU ALA (75) ARK AU MSU (105) UM (99) TAM
Miss. State ALA (96) ARK AU (85) LSU (105) UM (108) TAM
Missouri ALA ARK UF UK UM TAM
Ole Miss ARK LSU (99) MSU (108) MU TAM VU (86)
S. Carolina AU UF UGA (64) UK UT VU
Tennessee ALA (94) UGA UK (107) USC TAM VU (106)
Texas A&M ARK (68) LSU MSU MU UM UT
Vanderbilt ALA (83) UF UK (84) UM (86) USC UT (106)

 

The only rivalries played 60+ times that would not be permanent matchups under this plan are: Georgia-Vanderbilt (73), Alabama-Georgia (65) and Ole Miss-Tennessee (64).  Only the Georgia-Vandy game is currently an annual tilt.

And now, here’s what a 6-2, non-divisional plan would do for each program:

 

Alabama — The Tide would play five of its oldest rivals each year.  Bama would also add newcomer Missouri as a regular foe.

Arkansas – The Razorbacks would protect their oldest rivalry (with Texas A&M) and draw neighboring LSU and Missouri on a yearly basis.  The Hogs would also add Georgia as a regular opponent… which is a tad closer than South Carolina.

Auburn — The Tigers would play their four oldest rivals yearly.  They would also add an annual game with South Carolina.

Florida – The Gators’ three oldest rivalries would be protected.  UF would also add Missouri to its schedule.

Georgia — The Bulldogs would protect their two oldest rivalries plus two other games that have been played 60+ times.  UGA would also add Arkansas as a regular opponent.

Kentucky — The Wildcats would protect four of their oldest rivalry games.  UK would also add border state Missouri.  (UK is one of only three schools whose permanent rivals under this plan would match those in the 2012 divisional plan.)

LSU — Three of the Tigers’ oldest rivalries would be saved and Texas A&M would be added to the mix as well.  (Like Kentucky, LSU’s permanent schedule would remain the same under this format.)

Miss. State — The Bulldogs are a part of four of the SEC’s oldest rivalry games and all four would be protected.  MSU would also add newcomer Texas A&M to its mix.  (State is the third school — along with UK and LSU — that would face the same permanent opponents under our plan.)

Missouri — The Tigers would be given annual games against old Big 12 rival Texas A&M and border state schools Kentucky and Arkansas.  The Tigers would also play Ole Miss on a yearly basis as that is a short distance from Southeast Missouri.  In addition, MU would face Florida from across the league on an annual basis.

Ole Miss — Three of the Rebels’ oldest rivalries would be protected and UM would add both Missouri and Texas A&M to its yearly slate.

S. Carolina – The Gamecocks would protect their oldest rivalry (with Georgia) and continue to face all of their current division foes.  Auburn would be added to USC’s schedule as a replacement for Arkansas.

Tennessee – The Volunteers would have three of their most-played games saved.  They would lose Florida — which is basically a 20-year-old rivalry — but add newcomer Texas A&M as an annual foe.

Texas A&M –  The Aggies would protect their oldest rivalry (with Arkansas) and they would gain games LSU and old Big 12 combatant Missouri.  A&M would also add Tennessee to its schedule (which might give the Aggies a new orange-and-white “UT” to hate).

Vanderbilt – The Commodores would have four of their oldest rivalry games protected.  After a lengthy layoff, Alabama would return to VU’s schedule as an yearly foe, too.

 

Is this plan perfect?  No.  But it’s probably as close as one can come to protecting the SEC’s most historically significant rivalries while also maintaining competitive balance and manageable travel.

If the SEC wants to make an eight-game schedule work, the 6-2 MrSEC.com Non-Divisional Plan is almost a must.  Which means Mike Slive and his league leaders must work to convince the NCAA to drop its totally unnecessary scheduling requirements for conference championship games.

Any other plan would nix too much tradition… and tradition is something the SEC should fight at all costs to defend as it ushers in a new 14-school future.

 


53 comments
jeffbwillis
jeffbwillis

Actually, the one fixed intra-divisional opponent and one rotating intra-divisional opponent plan would be the easiest to implement. All rivalties might be protected. But the intra-divisional rivalries most significant are, "Tennessee-Alabama" and "Auburn-Georgia." Texas A & M and Missouri currently play each other. LSU and Florida might consider swapping fixed intravisional opponents. I know that Mississippi State and Florida have a history. So does LSU-Kentucky. OIe Miss and Arkansas might swap fixed intra-divisional opponents. After all, Columbia, South Carolina is much further from Fayetteville than Nashville! But why would Ole Miss agree to the switch? My guess is that they wouldn't! I don't know what Carolina would say! Oxford is much closer to Columbia than Fayetteville! Of course, Columbia, Missouri is closer (287 miles) to Fayetteville than any school. South Carolina might relish playing Texas A & M as opposed to Arkansas. It's not much of a difference in distance. But these are details that the individual schools should work out. And I believe that they can. We have a wonderful set-up currently, ending with a championship game. Missouri and Texas A & M bring a lot of TV households to the SEC. We now can have the extra money without compromising a great thing!

airpowerproducts
airpowerproducts

Despite the thinking that Texas A&M and Arkansas are the biggest rivals, LSU and Texas A&M have also had a very long standing rivalry with 33 games played and the rivalry goes back to the early 1900s. Also, the proximity of Baton Rouge (only 275 miles from Houston) to Houston with the largest LSU fan club anywhere in Houston, it makes for a very strong competitive game. College station is only about 100 miles from Houston, Texas.

jeffbwillis
jeffbwillis

I don't like this plan. A more simple solution would be to drop back to one rotating intra-divisional opponent per year. Missouri would play Texas A & M as it's fixed intra-divisional opponent. Each school would play eight conference games per year.

SEC Ag
SEC Ag

On the surface I really like both Crayton and John's plans. Seems that Crayton's wouldn't require a rule change, and you see every team twice in 4 years while protecting most of the rivalries and an 8 game schedule. Let's do it. (need to get A&M-ARK in the same pod though!)

Crayton
Crayton

People keep pushing for 16 teams because they think scheduling will get easier. But it won't; not unless you are going to Quads. And you can go to Quads now without the rigamarole of adding 2 teams. Here is a simple alignment that keeps all of the permanent rivalries that have existed post WWII.

SOUTH: LSU, Ole Miss, Miss St, Texas A&M

NORTH: South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas

CENTRAL: Tennessee, Alabama, Vanderbilt

EAST: Auburn, Georgia, Florida

Every team has 3 permanent rivals, the 3 in their quad. The smaller quads (EAST and CENTRAL) also may have 1 permanent rivalry from each other (like the Iron Bowl).

Quads are paired two years at a time, 1 larger (SOUTH and NORTH) with 1 smaller (EAST and CENTRAL). These pairings create divisions where teams will play a full round-robin schedule. The winner of each division will then proceed to the SEC Championship.

Beyond these 6 division games, the two larger divisions will play 2 games against each other and the two smaller divisions will play 2 games against each other (although 1 of these may be a permanent rivalry, like the Iron Bowl).

This leads to an 8-game schedule every year, 3 permanent rivals, and 5 rotating rivals against the remaining 10 teams (play twice every 4 years).

Sure, 9 games would make things easier, but the SEC will be the last to move to that many games. Also, if they keep stagnant divisions and 1 cross-division rivalry, some teams will play twice only every 12 years (yikes!!!). Tweaks can certainly be made to the above alignment, especially with the smaller divisions because of the flexibility with the cross-quad rivalry. South Carolina has an especially onerous schedule with far-away permanent rivals. Playing every team more often than currently, though, will help equalize travel for this far-spread league.

airpowerproducts
airpowerproducts

BillRouhuff:

Since Tennessee and Missouri do technically touch each other , I think you make a great point for distance and the state rivalry. You could swap TAM for Missouri with Alabama.

airpowerproducts
airpowerproducts

I think Alabama aught to play Florida as a permanent foe so as the compete the best against the best. With LSU, Arkansas, and Auburn already on the Bama schedule why not play Florida every year. LSU has played the Gators, Alabama, Arkansas, and Auburn every year for almost 20 years now, so Alabama should do the same. I think Bama vs Florida would be better than Bama vs Missouri since the games would mean a lot more.

BillRauhuff
BillRauhuff

I am a Tennessee Volunteer and would rather have Missouri or Mississippi or even Miss State as a permanent rival than Texas A&M as they are over a 1,000 miles apart

airpowerproducts
airpowerproducts

Finally, LSU will lose it's permanent game with Florida every year. With Florida being probably the best team over the last 15-20 years or so, LSU has been saddled with playing the Gators every single year, while Alabama and Auburn only played the Gators every 5 years or so. I like the layout of Mr. SEC .

airpowerproducts
airpowerproducts

How about the SEC Championship Game ? How will that be handled ? It sounds like somehow the two teams with the best conference records would play for the championship.

FryeDaddyTN
FryeDaddyTN

I hate the 9-game suggestion. Just because lesser conferences do it does it make it more plausible. It's simply unreasonable to have half the league have 1 more home game than the other half. Then with the teams that have an annual neutral site game, that gives them even more of an advantage.

The only way to make 9 work at all is to keep the divisions and let entire division have the extra game and alternate every season. Then force the neutral site teams to suck it up and play home-home.

Keep it at 8 games and make it work.

GP for Bama
GP for Bama

I agree with the idea in general. A 4-4 rotation, I believe would be better. Every team has 4 permanent rivals and then 4 rotating ones. Under this format every team plays every other SEC team at least twice every 5 years.

Permanent rivals:

Alabama--Auburn, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt

Arkansas--LSU, Texas A&M, Missouri, Ole Miss

Auburn---Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi State

Florida---Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, Texas A&M

Georgia--Auburn, Florida, Vanderbilt, South Carolina

Kentucky- Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, South Carolina

LSU-------Arkansas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Mississippi State

Miss State-Alabama, Auburn, LSU,South Carolina

Missouri--Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina

Ole Miss--Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt

South Carolina-Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi State, Kentucky

Tennessee-Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Vanderbilt

Texas A&M--Arkansas, Florida. LSU, Ole Miss

Vanderbilt--Alabama, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia

RussH
RussH

I would rather see a 3/5 plan with 3 perm regional rivals and 5 rotating games. Every other year you play every team around and you keep some regional/historical games intact. Every 4 years you get a home/away with every team in the league.

College students are in college for 4 years. They need to see EVERY SEC team in their 4 years in school, and also need to have the chance to go to EVERY school as a road trip.

Every 7 years does not cut it.

AGator
AGator

I like your idea. I think the Big 10 and ACC would want to do something similar to this so they would probably vote for it.

Alabama would object because this schedule would give Auburn an advantage in recruiting Florida and Georgia. Auburn has longstanding rivalries with Florida and Georgia. Alabama's rivals are in less fertile recruiting grounds.

Auburn and Mississippi State might lobby for easier schedules.

Calling Mississippi "OM" (Ole Miss) instead of "UM" might make it less easy to confuse with Missouri.

nelroy78
nelroy78

@MrSEC I would prefer 3-5. Only 3 permanent rivals, but you'd play the other 10 teams twice every 4 years. Seems more fair to me.

TNTiger
TNTiger

You should take the analysis another step further and compare how each team's proposed schedule matches up against the top SEC teams over the past few years. After all, isn't that one of the complaints about Georgia for last year and this upcoming year's schedules... that they did not have to play LSU, Alabama or Arkansas. Looking at your schedule of permanent foes,

Auburn is playing 5 of the top 6 SEC-West & SEC-East teams every year (LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina) while Alabama is only playing 2 (LSU & Auburn) and at the most 3 if you consider Tennessee a potential future top SEC team. Arkansas is only playing 2 (LSU & Georgia) or 3 if you consider Texas A&M as a potential future top SEC team???

In fact, only Georgia & Mississippi State come close with 4 permanent games against top SEC teams (with a potential of 5 if you consider Tennessee or Texas A&M as potential future top SEC status). I don't think Auburn should shy away from it, but I also don't think it is an equitable schedule across the conference. Also I think Tennessee would be a better permanent foe to Auburn as that rivalry was developing into a really good one before.

chapelbellringer
chapelbellringer

You're reaching. This would never pass. Currently, Vandy-Ole Miss & UK-MSU are cross division rivalries. There is no quibbling among upper tier teams about this because traditionally, these are the league's bottom feeders in football. Not always, but most of the time. The other current cross-division matchups are fairly well balanced. Auburn-Georgia, Bama-Tenn, Florida-LSU, SC-Ark, and now A&M-Missouri all are competitively balanced where all involved think that they don't have it any better or worse than others. Under your format, several teams would pick up a Vandy or an Ole Miss as a new permanent while someone else might pick up an LSU or a Georgia. The balance disappears and several teams would have a one game scheduling advantage every year. That won't wash. Leave the divisions as they are. Keep the traditional rivalries. Go to a nine game schedule. No one will ever be completely happy, but when you tinker too much you end up with something that either no one likes or doesn't work. Kind of like a large govt program with too many adendums or earmarks.

ScottMelton
ScottMelton

@MrSEC that rule is only thing keeping the sec from expanding to 16. Other leagues wont go for it if sec is going to poach their members

FallsChurchDore
FallsChurchDore

The Big Ten should also be on board with any suggestion that allows it to sweep the "Leaders" and "Legends" fiasco under the rug and pretend it never happened.

SEC Ag
SEC Ag

@airpowerproducts fyi - A&M and LSU have played 50 times (not 33), dating all the way back to 1899. A&M-Arkansas has been played 68 times.

Agree w/ the rest of your point though. Both are good historical rivals, with the intensity one or two degrees hotter vs LSU than with Hogs - probably due to that Houston proximity and the oil business overlap.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

jeffbwillis...

In that plan -- which is what the league is looking at -- each school would play it's rotating cross-division foes just twice every 12 years. My view -- that's VERY bad for the league... and for the TV networks.

John

airpowerproducts
airpowerproducts

@jeffbwillis Jeff, it is not a bad format you have there except I think Arkansas and Missouri could be a better rivalry since they are neighboring states and it would be great to see them become bitter rivals much like Kansas and Missouri were. With Fayetteville being located within about 30 miles of the Missouri border, travel would be easier than A&M and Missouri. This could be a great rivalry especially if SEC championships would be on the line.

Crayton
Crayton

@SEC Ag Yeah, it'd be great to get them in the same pod. My rational for pod making was that the dolly chain of Flo-Geo-Aub-Ala-Ten-Vandy rivalries requires those teams to be in the smaller quads in some configuration, or else you'd have to cancel one of those rivalries. I considered putting South Carolina in there in place of Vanderbilt, but because Vandy-Tennessee is an in-state rivalry I considered it unbreakable.

.

From there keeping LSU with the Mississippi teams was priority and everyone else kinda fell into place. I suppose you could put A&M with Ark, Mizz, and Kentucky, while South Carolina goes with LSU and the Mississippi teams. It kinda messes with geography, but it could be done.

chase the train
chase the train

again being a gamecock i dont really have a dog in the fight, but as far as looking for some good foes for our new members i think that Texas A&M being able to have a new rivalry with Tenn (a new orange and white to hate ) and a annual go at Alabama (instead of saw the horns off you get saw the tusks off) would make them fell at home.

i love the idea of gamecocks vs mizzou i think we need to start working on a trophy for a battle of the columbias

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

BillRauhuff...

We're arguing individual games instead of the overall point. But I can tell you that Derek Dooley would prefer A&M over the schools you mentioned... for recruiting purposes.

John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

airpowerproducts...

Yes. That's why this was included in the post:

"Without divisions, the SEC could simply pair the teams with the two best SEC records in its championship game. Forget the problem of having the two best teams in one division. Without divisions, the two top teams in the league would always reach Atlanta."

John

GP for Bama
GP for Bama

@GP for Bama Adjustment:

Mississippi State--Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss

Ole Miss-------------Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, Mississippi State

South Carolina----Georgia, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Kentucky

Vanderbilt-----------Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia

RussH
RussH

@GP for BamaI like this as well... a 4-4 will at least give many college students (who are there for 5 years) the chance to see every SEC team both home and road trip.

Any rivalries here that would be left out that MUST be maintained?

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

RussH...

Currently it's twice every five years. And if the league goes to a 6-1-1 format, that will be twice every 12 years.

A 3/5 plan would me more difficult to schedule in terms of everyone keeping an even number of home and road games each year. In addition, such a plan would kill off an awful lot of yearly rivalries.

The best plan -- as we've said numerous times -- is an 6-1-2 plan in a nine-game slate. But short of that, the above plan would be the simplest to execute and the one that protects the most long-time rivalries.

Just my take.

Thanks for reading,John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

TNTiger...

No offense, but we don't believe recent success should be measured in the least. Teams rise and fall over time and what's fair this year might not be fair next year. Fifteen years ago the strength of the SEC was in the East. Now Florida and Tennessee are struggling while South Carolina has risen. LSU has gone from also-ran status to the top of the conference. And Alabama has moved from the NCAA doghouse to the top of the entire football world.

We based this schedule on traditional rivalries. People can always say, "I'd rather have these two teams play," but that sets off a chain reaction of moves. Who would Tennessee and Auburn drop -- for instance -- in order to secure the matchup you seek? And who would the dropped teams then pick up?

The point is this -- if the SEC refuses to go to a nine-game conference schedule, then the league should push for a divisionless set-up and try to create a schedule based on the league's oldest, most-played rivalry games. Tweak this game or that... fine. Don't miss the forest for the trees.

Thanks for reading,

John

airpowerproducts
airpowerproducts

@SEC Ag Yea, Ag, you are correct and I should have known better because the series is 27-20-3 (50 games) in favor of LSU. Of course A&M and Arkansas is an old rivalry going back to the old Southwest Conference days, but I well remember when LSU and A&M played every year back in like the 60s and 70s. Emery Bellard turned things around for A&M when he was there and then Jackie Sherrell and Slocum built on that turn around. Every since Arkansas came into the SEC, they have been trying to turn that game into a big rivalry with the Golden Boot, and it is just now finally is turning into that rivalry that most wanted.

But, the LSU / A&M series will probably get hot quicker because of the proximity of the schools and LSU has such a large Alumni association in Houston as it is the largest of all. Plus we all mixup with the oil field a lot and other businesses, and the two states are bordering each other with bragging and etc. . How about a game in the Reliance Center to help make it a larger game.

My brother-in-law got his masters from A&M and his BS from LSU, and I have several friends and business associates that graduated from A&M. I think this will be a big game for both schools, so I am looking forward to the renewal in the SEC. It will be good to have the Aggies in the SEC as they have always played like an SEC team with hard hitting defenses, etc., plus the great traditions the Aggies bring with them.

So, I say welcome to the SEC -- Texas A&M Aggies.

SEC Ag
SEC Ag

@Crayton Well if we absolutely had to choose between LSU or ARK as a perm rival most Ags (incl me) will say LSU, though we have a good history w both. But even breaking some of the rivalries under your plan wont be nearly as painful cause you'd still play everyone twice in four years. I would even stagger the home/away rotation so you play all SEC teams every 2 years, either home or away. That would be really good for the conference I think, and leave almost all the big rivalries intact.

airpowerproducts
airpowerproducts

@John at MrSEC Yes, that sounds good, but you will leave the strong possibility of a rematch happening pretty often, and I think this years BCS rematch game showed that not to be the best thing for all concerned. With LSU winning the regular season game and Alabama winning the BCS game, the end result is that nothing was really decided as they are still 1-1 . Let's face it LSU had nothing to prove and Alabama did so it was good for one by not for the other. But, in this case these two were the best two and the game had to be played.

I still like the Divisional play as it has worked out great for the SEC financially and it gives each division a championship also. The real purpose in having divisions is to help save money and expenses by being regional. But, we always have the Alabama Auburn situation to deal with and that rivalry takes president over every thing else. However, I can't see why Alabama and Auburn couldn't move to the east and then have the two new teams A&M and Missouri be in the west and keep things going as usual with the same rotation games. That way all would remain the same and we would still have the SEC championship game with the East Champ against the West Champ to decide the SEC champion. You would just have less non conference games, and that could be the down side.

Right now Alabama and Auburn do not play Florida on a regular basis. But if all three teams were in the East then they would play each other every year and we would see who was the cream of the crop in the SEC. Also, the Alabama vs Tennessee game would stay in tact. As it is now, LSU is the only top rated team that has had to face Alabama, Auburn, and Florida every single year in order to win an SEC Championship. That has been a tall order for LSU to face every single year.

Certainly we need changes, but hopefully we don't need to reinvent the wheel in order to be fair.

m_Ag
m_Ag

"Any rivalries here that would be left out that MUST be maintained?"

Ole Miss-Miss State might want to keep playing annually.

GP for Bama
GP for Bama

@RussH

The permanant rivalries are based on each teams oldest (most frequently played) rivalries. Working in the new schools as best as possible.

aybird
aybird

@John at MrSEC Not sure how you would "kill off an awful lot of yearly rivalries." when you can lock in 3 rivalries games to be played every year. Plus you would would be playing every other SEC team with much more frequency that the lesser "rivalry" games (Florida-Tennessee or Georgia-Alabama) would be played twice every four years.

Why would a 3-5 plan be more difficult in terms of schedule 4 home and road games for each school?

airpowerproducts
airpowerproducts

@John at MrSEC Only on rare occasions has LSU ever been an also ran team, as they are ranked all time as the 4th best team in the SEC and ranked as the 12 th winningest in all of the NCAA. Only Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida have a winning record against LSU.

I don't know what kind of Tiger you are but it must be the Auburn variety. LSU had some bad years in the early 90s under Curley Hallman, but through the years, LSU has been one of the more tradition powers in the SEC .

I will say that since Nick Saban came to LSU and now with Les Miles winning ways, LSU has been on top of the college football world and they are the only team that has beaten Alabama this year and really the only one to even gave them a game lately. The BCS Game was not one of LSU's better games, but 13-1 is not too bad.

airpowerproducts
airpowerproducts

@RussH@SEC Ag LSU Tiger Stadium is 92,000 and expecting an expansion to over 100,000. I just thought being played in Houston would make a big game atmosphere for TV and others promotions. The LSU/Oregon game this past year in Jerry's World was a tremendous success in Dallas and LSU's game against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl was a great success as well. The Florida / Georgia Game played in Jacksonville, Florida is a great game similar to the Texas / OU game.

But, I too love the home field advantage of playing in Tiger Stadium where earthquake like trimmers have occurred on Saturday night. You will see that there is nothing like playing a game in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night.

airpowerproducts
airpowerproducts

@SEC Ag Yes, there is something to be said about the home and home experience of late season conference games. I don't know when the LSU / A&M game will be played, but LSU always has it's hands full with playing Alabama (always a heated game) , then Ole Miss (a rivalry game), and then Arkansas for the last game and sometimes for the SEC west championship. So adding A&M in on the tale end of the year would be a little much for LSU to have to contend with. So, it will most likely be scheduled for the middle of the year. But, at this point no one knows how that will work out.

SEC Ag
SEC Ag

@airpowerproducts Personally I'd rather keep it home & home, more fun being on campus for college football, esp conference games. I hope the Arkansas game goes home and home too, instead of at Jerry World. I haven't really enjoyed the Dallas thing. It was fun once as a novelty in the new stadium for a non-conf game, but not every year. Texas-OU is only great as a neutral site game because of the whole State Fair aspect that is totally unique. I don't think other venues can replicate that scene.

Crayton
Crayton

Yeah the Big 12 blew it big time. At the very least they should have given Nebraska-Oklahoma a protected rivalry. Last year I tried to go back over the situation and pick out a "better" method. It was simply to rotate Big Eight rivalry pairs through the Big 12 South every year. OU-OSU, Neb-Col, ISU-KSU, Mizz-Kan. Teams could max out on 1 SW-BE permanent rivalry and 4 Big Eight permanent rivalries to keep playing everyone at least twice every 4 years.

Whichever rotation method they go with, H-B-A-B or H-A-B-B, the important once ever four year visit will be there. I'll leave it up to the money-makers to determine which is best.

SEC Ag
SEC Ag

@Crayton I'm suggesting the HOME-BYE-AWAY-BYE rotation. We did the back-to-back rotation in the B12 (not staggered), and I didn't think it was a very good setup (nothing about the B12 was a good setup!). Even with just a two year absence you start to forget about those other guys. You see them in clumps so it's not a steady rivalry. And the two year absence made the broken rivalries (esp Neb-OU, Colorado-OU) seem more broken and distant so they lost their magic. With the H-B-A-B you've always either just played them or have them next year, so everyone stays in your mind.

But if they insisted on back-to-back I would prefer the staggering.

Crayton
Crayton

@SEC Ag That was my thinking too.

I like the idea of staggering as well (if I understand your meaning). Rather than switching all 5 of your rotating rivals every other year, you switch 3 one year, 2 the next, and then switch those same 3 again on the 3rd year.

If you are saying we accelerate that so that you play your non-permanent rivals on a HOME-BYE-AWAY-BYE rotation, then that is of course an option; but, I think most leagues prefer having the home-away games sidled back to back.

Crayton
Crayton

@John at MrSEC Actually it is really easy to do 10 rotating rivals that play every 5 years.Florida, for example, could have OM two years (once home, once away) and then MSU two years (once home, once away). Every school would divide their non-permanent rivalries into 5 pairs. I've also done it with slightly staggered rotations, where you don't necessarily switch every even year ('14, '16), but rather for some "pairs" you can even switch on every odd year ('15, '17); this allows for a more gradual rotation than switching 5 schools after each two year rotation.The "tricky" part would be starting off 7 schools with 2 permanent and 2 rotating rival home games and 7 schools with 1 permanent and 3 rotating rival home games. But once you've identified those schools you can then draw up schedules, rivalry pairs, and then advance some pairs a year to allow for the gradually changing rotation. I'll place a simple example in another post here.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

aybird...

If this system features 6 permanent opponents every year and the other system features 3 permanent opponents that would be 21 rivalries (14 schools x 3 = 42 / 2 = 21) that would no longer be played annually.

As for home and away schedules, open a spreadsheet and create a rotation -- going through all the years of the rotation -- that shuffles in five opponents per year and keeps each school with four home and four road games. Harder to do that than to go with the plan above.

Again, just my take,

John

airpowerproducts
airpowerproducts

@John at MrSEC John: First of all it was my mistake for calling you the Auburn variety Tiger as I got you and TN Tiger mixed up as the writer. You were responding to TNTiger and I saw his name. So, I apologize for that error. But, everything I said was true and I still contend that you are off base for calling LSU an Also Ran team, because the historical facts don't support that characterization.

There was no BCS Level play from 1986 to 1997 because the BCS did not come into existence until 1998, but LSU won SEC Championships in 1986 and 1988 , so I think you sort of missed those facts. LSU went to the Sugar Bowl in 1986, Gator in 87, and Outback Bowl (Hall of Fame) in 88. I pointed out that during Curley Hallman's years LSU was down and that was from 1990 to 1994. Gerry Dinardo took LSU to 3 straight Bowl victories from 95 to 97 and then Nick Saban came in in 1999 and the rest is history. Nick Saban also won the SEC championship in 2001. During the years you stated (1986-2001), most of those years were down years and probably the worst in LSU history, but even in their worst years, LSU still won 3 SEC Championships and went to 6 Bowl games.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

airpowerproducts...

LSU didn't reach a BCS-level, major bowl from 1986 through 2001.

Love the fact that you can't read something without thinking the writer must be a fan of another team. I think you're we've never been an also-ran comment -- nevermind those 15 years of secondary bowls -- proves you're the one with the bias.

John

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  1. [...] Division-less setup would help SEC football, argues John Pennington of Mr. SEC. var addedComment = function(response) { //console.log('fbComments: Caught added comment'); //console.log('fbComments: Making AJAX call to update Facebook comment count'); $.post('http://johnclay.bloginky.com/wp-content/plugins/facebook-comments-for-wordpress/facebook-comments-ajax.php', { fn: 'addComment', xid: '_post35876' }, function(resp) { if (resp === 'true') { //console.log('fbComments: Updated and cached Facebook comment count for post with xid=_post35876'); } else { //console.log('fbComments: FAILED to update Facebook comment count for post with xid=_post35876'); } }); }; FB.Event.subscribe('comments.add', addedComment); [...]

  2. [...] not quite sure how I feel about this. Another link from Mr. SEC, this one about the thought of an SEC without divisions and the schedule that would result from it. [...]

  3. News | MrSEC says:

    [...] The best way to do that is to go to a nine-game conference slate or somehow convince the NCAA to dump its requirements for conference championship games. [...]

  4. [...] In our view:* A divisionless, tradition-based approach should be taken in basketball… * A divisionless, tradition-based approach should be taken in football as well (if the NCAA will allow it)… * But only if the SEC [...]

  5. [...] games as possible.  Television networks need to have their requests filled, yes, but rivalries don’t have to be thrown out the window and traditions don’t have to be [...]

  6. [...] we’re in favor of a nine-game conference football schedule for SEC teams.  (Short of that, we’re for eliminating divisional play altogether).  There are basically four reasons why we believe the SEC should consider adding a conference [...]

  7. [...] slate with a 6-1-2 format still is the safest bet for the SEC moving forward.  (Short of that, the league should adopt an eight-game conference schedule without divisions and simply ask the NCAA for a waiver regarding its championship game in Atlanta.)  Currently, no [...]

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    A Divisionless Set-Up Would Help The SEC In Football – MrSEC.com | SEC Football News | SEC Basketball News | SEC Football Recruiting | SEC Basketball Recruiting

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