This is probably what the future of football scheduling looks like. If you want in the playoff/tournament, your schedule needs to be challenging.
In an effort to improve the SEC’s strength of schedule in basketball next season, Mike Slive invited former NCAA Tournament executive Greg Shaheen to this week’s league meetings in Destin. Shaheen prepared a 20-page dossier for the SEC’s hoops coaches and athletic directors to peruse.
What they found amidst all the RPI and strength of schedule data surprised more than a few of them. According to Florida’s Billy Donovan, “One of the things that was eye-opening to coaches was how much every team’s schedule impacts the other teams.”
But it’s not just a matter of SEC squads adding better teams to their schedules. Shaheen says schools have to be willing to hit the road, too:
“It’s not only who you play. It’s where you play them. They need to be serious about this from the first game to the last. If they don’t go on the road and don’t play quality competition, it will be reflected at the end of the year.”
Last year the SEC’s poor scheduling led to an measly three NCAA tourney bids for the conference. As we noted yesterday, fewer bids means less revenue for the league. And that’s why Slive has decided that the SEC office should take a look at team’s non-conference schedules before they’re finalized. That’s a decision that Florida AD Jeremy Foley backs:
“The commissioner overseeing (scheduling), that’s a good business decision. If scheduling is holding us back, holding some institutions back, it needs to be fixed.”
Overseeing scheduling, creating an SEC/Big XII Challenge, bringing in a tourney insider for a crash course on how RPI and SOS work… clearly Slive is trying everything he can to fix what needs fixing.