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Pac-12 Coaches Might Push For An Eight-Game Schedule

pac-12-logoFor those SEC fans who don’t want to the see their favorite football league adopt a nine-game conference slate, you might want to start pulling for the Pac-12 to change its scheduling format.

CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman tweeted word today that the Pac-12′s football coaches will discuss this week the possibility of moving to an eight-game schedule, away from the current nine-game model.  If the Pac-12 were to backtrack, that might alleviate some of the pressure on the Southeastern Conference to go from eight to nine games with its schedule.  A Pac-12 reversal would mean that the majority of major conferences (Pac-12, SEC, and ACC) would use an eight-game plan rather than a nine-game plan (Big Ten and Big XII).

In turn, that might take the strength-of-schedule bullet from the gun of any playoff selection committee member looking for any reason at all to prevent the SEC from getting two (or more) teams into the playoff in a given year.

That said, coaches seldom hold the final cards when it comes to big conference decisions such as scheduling formats.  If they did, you can be sure the SEC would still be playing six conference games and would feature no conference championship game.  But there are larger things at play than one guaranteed patsy win each season, which is what most coaches would prefer.  Dropping the number of conference matchups would give a league fewer A-list games as television inventory, thus costing the Pac-12, in this case, money in the long run.

And television money is what we believe will ultimately drive the SEC to change its own format from eight games to nine.

Still, if you’re an anti-nine-gamer, it can’t hurt to pull for the Pac-12 coaches on this one.

 


4 comments
SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

Kelly, while your ideas about 15/16 schools are welcome, you've also got to consider what games people want to keep.  For example, TN/Ala. & GA/Aub. are 2 of the oldest in the conference.  How would you sort the schools?

A good example of how difficult it is, this is an example of a long historied chain of rivalries (paired off by the dashes):

Mississippi - Alabama - Auburn - Georgia - Florida    or    Tennessee - Alabama - Auburn - Georgia - Florida (***This line up contains those 2 historic matchups.)

While there are many options out there, there are also certain things the SEC want to keep annual, thereby limiting what can work.

KellyJones2
KellyJones2

It makes sense for the PAC because they have two divisions of six teams each.  So, 8 games gives the 5 annual division games plus half (3) of the other division each year, meaning everyone is playing each other equally.  The SEC's best chance at equality now is add one school, split in three divisions of 5 teams, and go 4-5, rotating divisions each year, allowing everyone to play every two years.  If adding two schools, go 4 divisions of 4 teams and go 3-4-2, also allowing everyone to play every two years.

I assume the PAC plans to supplement with a PAC/Big 12 showdown or at least strongly encourage each member to schedule a good OOC lineup.

KellyJones2
KellyJones2

@SouthernBoiSB Right, and the Big 10 is going through that right now with their new East/West lineup.  Some trophy games, like Ohio State/Illinois and Minnesota/Michigan, will no longer be annual events.  When a conference unanimously decides to expand to 14 teams, there has to be some expectation that everything cannot stay as it has always been.  

Personally, I would have loved for the trend to be 10-12 team conferences based on cultural, academic, and financial fit so that everyone in conference plays annually, then you can schedule excellent out of conference games.  Set history aside, and having Auburn, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt in conference with the nine southern ACC non-flagship schools (Miami, FSU, Ga. Tech, Clemson, NC. State, Duke, Wake Forest, Va. Tech., Louisville) while UNC and UVA come over to the flagship schools in the ACC sets up a 12 team flagship southern conference (Missouri probably never comes over if that scenario played out, but TAMU likely does).  Play your in-state rivalry game between flagship/state(private), and you take care of almost everyone's #1 and #2 rivalry game while still playing 12 games.  The only one with an issue is Auburn/Georgia which could be resolved as a permanent bowl game if both teams desired (assuming neither were in a championship/playoff game).  I say all that to say that their could be a solution, but keeping the season at 12 games with the conferences as currently composed is going to create problems unless you totally unbalance the schedule, like playing a permanent divisional crossover annual rival at the cost of only playing the other divisional teams once every 6 years (current SEC model).  I do not think that is sustainable or fair.

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

Exactly.  Which is why my post on the 9 game conf. schedule talks about how a 14 team conference isn't an easy # to sort out without somebody complaining about how it's worked.

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