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No Permanent Cross-Divisional Rivals In The SEC?

Here’s one that will get Alabama and Tennessee fans fired up.  SEC associate commissioner and chief PR guy Charles Bloom told Kirk Bohls of The Austin American-Statesman that the league’s permanent cross-divisional rivalries could go bye-bye as soon as 2013:


“There might not be a permanent rival.  Don’t read anything into next year’s schedule (2012).  But we are staying with eight conference games.”

For many fans across the SEC, the permanent cross-divisional rivalries serve no purpose.  Kentucky and Mississippi State have no hatred for one another.  South Carolina and Arkansas have little history.  And Florida and LSU would rather not have to face one another every year.

But there are other schools that do have reasons to maintain those cross-division games.  Alabama and Tennessee — traditionally speaking — is the SEC’s biggest game, played annually between the two teams who own the most SEC titles all-time.

Georgia and Auburn is the oldest rivalry in the Deep South.  Ole Miss and Vanderbilt have played 86 times.  And Missouri desperately wants to keep Texas A&M on its schedule for recruiting purposes.

Killing cross-division games is not a good solution.

We’ve said repeatedly that we believe the SEC will eventually go to a nine-game league schedule.  We’ve taken that stance because the SEC has almost always in the past acted wisely from a business sense.

But if the league does away with permanent cross-division games and discards three of the league’s oldest rivalries in order to allow its schools to schedule more pitiful home games with schools like Georgia State and Elon, then the league will not be acting wisely.

If the league fails to follow the lead of most other BCS conferences that will be going to nine-game league slates by 2017 if not sooner, then — to be blunt — the SEC will be acting cowardly.

And if the SEC maintains permanent cross-divisional games while eliminating a rotating cross-divisional foe — meaning schools will visit one another every dozen years — the league will be undermining the very thing that makes it great: fantastic rivalries.

If there’s a story to watch in 2012, it’s the final scheduling plan for the SEC moving forward into 2013 and beyond.  Will the SEC act wisely and boldly as it has in the past?  Or will it be motivated to act out of greed (one more home game for everyone!) or fear (nine games is too tough!).

Here’s hoping the league’s leaders wise up before they damage America’s best conference from the inside out.

 


13 comments
MIZ_STV
MIZ_STV

It would be best if the NCAA would allow 14 team conferences go to 13 game schedules, with the stipulation of 9 conference games. That would give reason to go nine. As Missouri alum, we need keep that cross-div with A&M for recruiting.

AGator
AGator

I like eight conference games. If ADs wanted tougher schedules they'd be scheduling tougher teams already. I'm sure they are acting in what they think is their school's best interest. Adding another conference game means seven teams get another loss on their record. More losses means more unhappy fans who might not renew their season tickets the next year.

UF wasn't very good this year but I still enjoyed going to the Gator Bowl to see them play. If UF had played another conference game they would likely have lost and wouldn't have been bowl eligible. I doubt Vanderbilt would have wanted to schedule themselves out of a bowl this year either.

I think every coach who has commented on scheduling has said they prefer an eight game schedule.

If the conference wants to make schedules tougher I'd prefer they schedule tougher out of conference games. I'd pull for an SEC team against an out of conference team but I don't care much about watching two SEC teams play each other.

sharroncabrera
sharroncabrera

@mrtherobin Are you interested in being your own boss? Take control now and start making 6k a month in 2 months mymoneytimesite .com

tnfoodguy
tnfoodguy

@sports180 pretty sad when the off season is more exciting then the football season. Tells you where the program is out.

VolFox72
VolFox72

@sports180 It's not much of a rivalry anymore. Especially in the eyes of Bama fans.

jocelynfarrell2
jocelynfarrell2

@VolFox72 Are you interested in being your own boss? Take control now and start making 6k a month in 2 months mymoneytimesite .com

merlinsedge
merlinsedge

I agree with Bubba. Keep things the way they are unless you need the content for an SEC channel.

Tiger Eyez
Tiger Eyez

The reason for keeping Auburn in the West and sending Mizzou to the East was supposedly to acquiesce to Bama's demands for keeping the Tennessee game.

alster78
alster78

@AlexAndersonTSR I hate to say it, but that might be a good thing for us. Now that we have Dooley Kentucky and Vandy are our big rivals.

This comment has been deleted

Bubba Gump
Bubba Gump

What does the SEC gain going to 9?

The B1G and B12 only have Iowa vs Iowa State, and that is not a ratings grabber

The PAC has none

The SEC has 4 - 3 with the ACC and 1 with the BE - and all of them are ratings positive

If the SEC does not monetize a 9th game in terms of tearing up the current ESPN contract, and drawing up a bigger one, then what is to be gained by the 9th game? Keep 8, and play 6 division + 1 rival cross + 1 rotating cross

FallsChurchDore
FallsChurchDore

The only issue with keeping an 8-game schedule with a permanent opponent is that it creates a situation where Alabama fans travel to Gainesville once every 12 years, Georgia visits Baton Rouge once every 12 years, UT fans get to visit the Grove just once every 12 years, etc. No way is that sustainable. Either the league expands to 16 teams and starts over from scratch, it scraps the permanent opponent, or it keeps the permanent opponent and expands the conference schedule to 9 games to match what the Big 12 and Pac 12 are already doing.

JoPo
JoPo

Or, even more exciting, we can have an SEC playoff...

JoPo
JoPo

This is why 16 teams makes more sense. Break the league down into four pods instead of two divisions, and everyone can play everyone at least as often as they do now. Every two years the "divisions" are realigned to accommodate variation in the schedule.

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  1. [...] Mr. SEC: No Permanent Cross-Divisional Rivalries In The SEC? But with six division games, having a cross-divisional rival means schools from different divisions might not see each other for more than a decade in football. [...]



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