For 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.