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Spurrier Still Pushing New Division Champ Plan; Richt Scoffs

Last week South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier suggested that the SEC become the first major conference or league  – college or professional — to count only division games when determining its division champions.  All East versus West games would be tantamount to exhibition games.  There would be no difference between South Carolina playing Alabama and South Carolina playing Wofford in terms of the SEC standings.

Well, with the exception of a few very vocal Carolina fans — who would no doubt back Spurrier at this point if he said “let’s secede!” — the rest of the world laughed at the coach’s short-sighted, self-serving proposal.

You see, USC failed to reach Atlanta last year because it lost a game against Arkansas (from the West) while Georgia — a team the Cocks did beat — toppled woeful Ole Miss (from the West).

Despite the fact that if Spurrier’s plan were implanted it could result in a 5-3 SEC team reaching the title game over a 7-1 SEC team, the coach is still banging his toy drum today:


“I think the athletic directors and even the presidents are going to discuss it a little bit. What it does is it just takes out the scheduling as who determines the winner of the divisions. Sometimes like for example last year Tennessee and Florida both played Alabama and LSU, obviously two of the best teams in the country, maybe the two best teams. Us and Georgia did not play them. So obviously, us and Georgia are going to probably win the division. We had the same schedule as Georgia except for one game—they got to play Ole Miss and we played Arkansas, but that’s just the way it has always been. You just eliminate scheduling as maybe who the champion of the division is. I think it’s a good idea. We’ll see how it works out.”


Not sure who Spurrier’s talking about because the commissioner of the league, Mike Slive, said last week that he’d have a hard time imagining an SEC game not counting in the SEC standings.  And Slive usually has the pulse of the league’s presidents pretty well gauged at all times.

Mark Richt was asked during today’s SEC post-spring teleconference if he thought Spurrier’s proposal would get much support at the SEC Meetings in late-May.  His take?

“No, I don’t think it would.  All I know is tell me what the rule are at the beginning of the season and we’ll play by them.”

Amen.  Spurrier should follow that plan, too.  So far he’s done a darn fine job in Columbia… better than most anyone would have predicted.  With his track record and the roster he’s now put together, he shouldn’t have to pimp for changes unheard of in the rest of the sports-playing world.



For a team to sweep their division and lose the regular season crown is a travesty. However, making inter-divisional games worthless is not the answer. Switching to a points system where 1 full point would be awarded for a divisional win, and a half point award for an inter-divisional win appears to be the most logical answer. With a similar system in place last year, you would have seen Carolina and UGA tied for the division lead with Carolina owning the tie-breaker for a head-to-head win. Common sense, really. As always, it's great to be a Gamecock

Gamecock in ATL
Gamecock in ATL



I think the point that both you and Spurrier are missing is that division games DO count more than non-division games already. First of all, by defeating a division opponent, you have not only added a win but you have handed them a loss. So you control the destiny of one game for each division opponent. Secondly, In the event of a tie, the first tiebreaker is head to head (division!) and the second tie-breaker is division record. So really this is just about HOW MUCH more division games count.


That said, I know you like to pick on Spurrier for being a baby/whiner, and that might be fair sometimes, but I am not sure why this is a case of whining. Look back at last year when the Cocks didn't make it to Atlanta, and point me to a quote from then that shows Spurrier complaining about the rules. Then it could be whining. But to wait until the offseason and then bring it up? That's not whining, that's the professional way to do it.


I think it's a bad idea, but I don't think Spurrier is a whiner for bringing it up in the manner in which he has.


1,  The idea has merit regardless of who proposes it.

2.  Of course Mark Richt doesn't like the idea - UGA has avoided Alabama, Arkansas and LSU for two seasons (2011, 2012) and perhaps will for 2013.

3.  Regardless of whether other leagues adopt the idea, Spurrier's proposal is fair because it would apply to all teams equally.

4.  In any event, it's unavailing to look to pro leagues (most particularly the NFL) because they don't intend to be fair - they manipulate the schedules to create parity.  The best teams most often play the hardest schedules.  College leagues, on the other hand, should promote fairness.  Imbalanced out-of-division scheduling is inherently unfair.   You can say (and have said) that "life isn't fair" and "them's the breaks" but that sort of attitude is, to my way of thinking, a cop out or an excuse to keep things the way they are.  If there is a suggestion that promotes fairness - and is easy to implement - why dismiss it out of hand?  By the same token, who cares if other college leagues haven't adopted it - the SEC doesn't need to follow other conferences.

5.  Non division games are not exhibition games - they count for total wins, bowl appearances, BCS standings, tradition.

6.  If all SEC games are "equal" as the Commissioner said - to which you agree - then why bother with divisions at all?   Why not abolish divisions and just schedule like the NFL does every year?  Or seed the league 1-14 and play odds versus evens?   Or even onto permanent cross-division rivals? 

7.  I agree it will never happen, but that's different than scoffing at it as "whining."


In every other sport in the SEC(or at least most of them), each team gets to play every other team in the league so divisions don't serve any purpose.  In football, the only way you could do that would be to play 13 conference games.  Even if you went that far, it's not fair either that you only play one game per year against a team so someone always gets home field advantage.  There are plenty of other factors that make each and every game less than perfectly fair.  There's no such thing as a perfect system.  And Spurrier wouldn't be complaining if had benefited from the current system.


I totally agree with Steve on this subject.   As a Tennessee fan we are losing to Alabama every year since they are a fixture on our schedule.  Last year we had to play Alabama, LSU and Arkansas so that would be three losses for any team in the conference.  This year we have a chance to compete with anyone in the East but I don't feel good about our chances with Alabama.  Keep it up Steve.  I'm sure Rusty Cantwell would agree with you.


I think South Carolina failed to reach Atlanta moreso by losing to Auburn at home....but yes I agree with Spurrier that anyone who beats all the teams in a division should be the division champs....seems logical.  It would seem to me you want the best teams from each division to play for the championship.  South Carolina beat Georgia just like LSU beat Alabama in the regular season.  I think its kinda funny that very website has routinely dissed the division thing in basketball, but in football it sounds like its totally one-sided and crazy. 

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