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Slive Says SEC Will Have To Unravel A Knot And Make A Decision On Schedules

40knots1Earlier this week we brought you a quick comment from SEC scheduling czar Larry Templeton regarding the issues faced by the league when trying to build a schedule that pleases everyone.  Now commissioner Mike Slive has weighed in on the topic and he, too, makes it clear that scheduling isn’t as easy as most fans and media members believe:

 

“We try one (scenario), and there’s a knot.  We try another one, and there’s a big knot — whether it’s permanent (games), whether it’s traditional game or whether it’s too many games.  At some point in time, we’re going to have to unravel one of those knots and just make a decision.”

 

When the knots are unraveled, we expect — as we’ve written for years — that the league will move to a nine-game schedule featuring a 6-1-2 rotation with the league mandating that a 10th game be played against a school from a power conference.

 


30 comments
meansonny
meansonny

There is never such a thing as a fair schedule.  All attempts at a fair schedule are futile and foolish.  There may be better ways about handling the SEC business.  This is in regards to SOS and revenue.  But as long as there are divisions (and to have an SECCG, you have to have divisions), someone is going to have to play Bama every year. Someone is going to have to play UF every year.  Someone is going to have to play LSU every year (and someone is going to have to play Vandy, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and/or Miss St every year).

Let's get rid of the attempts at fair.  And focus on attempts at playing some dang good football.

the_voice
the_voice

The commissioner just needs to decide to set aside his politician's hat and put on his leader's hat instead. Those that get their toes stepped upon will just have to get over it. (Wake me up if SEC football coaches resign in protest or fans boycott because they have to watch their team play a 9th SEC opponent instead of Directional State College.)

6-1-2 here we come. Wish it were 6-0-3 instead.

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

1 solution that COULD work (a bit of a stretch, but makes things easier to balance) is a 10 conf. game schedule with a 6-1-3 setup.  You instantly have 5 H/5A games every year (no argument about the loss of games) & could cycle H/A against the other division in 4 yrs..


The downside to this is UGA/UF/USC/UK's in-state rivalries with their ACC bretheren making them only have 1 open slot to work with.

meansonny
meansonny

The best solution is moving Bama and Auburn to the East.  Trade Mizzou and Vandy to the West.  Keep the 6-2 schedule with no permanent rival.  Tell the conference to do what USCe, UF, and UGA are doing this year.  Play two big boy games OOC as often as you can.  And enjoy your home games.  Without tailgating at home... college football wouldn't be the same.

AndrewMartin
AndrewMartin

I hope permanent rivals ends. I want to see more SEC teams on an on going basis. If two teams want a permanent rival and they BOTH agree, then let them. Otherwise rotate all non division games. Better equity and more teams. Just my opinion.

rrrun
rrrun

This is the wrong goal 9 SEC + 1 power conference? That's crazy. It should be 9 SEC + 3 power conference games. That's how UCLA does it. Why would anyone want to see Alabama play a division 2 opponent? I have better things to do with my day.

meansonny
meansonny

@the_voice You miss the point.  You wouldn't be replacing Directional State College with Bama.  More likely... you're replacing UGA versus Clemson with UGA versus Arkansas.  I promise you that UGA versus Clemson gets better ratings and helps the SOS better than UGA versus Arkansas.  Not every team in the SEC is top 10.  For every 2 powerhouses in a  division, there are 2 lame ducks (2012 Auburn and Miss St in the West and 2012 Kentucky and 2012 Tennessee) that won't help ratings and won't help SOS getting teams into playoffs.

Teams need to protect their home games.  You are always going to have 2 lame ducks on the schedule (even Saban is only fantasizing about 10 tough games).  I promise you... you are more likely to be losing out on UGA v Clemson, UF v FSU, and USCe v UNC and adding a bunch of average games that no one realy cares about (Vandy v Miss St) other than the 2 teams involved.

DCPowerGator
DCPowerGator

@meansonny  Uh, no thanks.  Your alignment would put 5 of the SEC's traditional 6 power programs (Bama, UF, Uga, UT, Auburn) in the East leaving just one (LSU) in the west.  You're not Les Miles, by chance, are you?!

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

@meansonny But by doing that, the ONLY "bottom of the barrel" team in the East would be Kentucky.  The west would be Vandy, Miss., & MSU - 3 almost guaranteed W's on the schedule.

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

@AndrewMartin We DO want to keep the rivalries going.....but A. we're NOT counting it as a non-conf. game (that's just stupid);  B.  if we keep them, then HOW do you create a fair schedule for all 14 teams?;  C.  It's almost a given that conferences will expand again &, for example, 16 teams with pod setup will need 9 games MINIMUM.


Why not start that process now & make everybody happy with a 6-1-2 setup.  Even if you don't do consecutive years H/H, you'ld play everybody in the conference @ least once in 3 years.   Not to mention LSU did NOT have any issues with cross-division rivalries when they were started in 1992, so why wait 20 years to complain?

DCPowerGator
DCPowerGator

@rrrun What power conference is Nevada in?  How about New Mexico State in?  Because those two teams comprise 2/3 of UCLA's nonconference schedule for 2013.  How about Rice and Houston?  Those were 2/3 of UCLA's nonconference schedule in 2012.  2011 was Houston (who beat UCLA) and San Jose State.  See a pattern?  Even if not, it should be incredibly obvious that UCLA is not remotely close to having 3 (or even 2) power conference nonconference opponents on their schedule in most years, including the last three.

meansonny
meansonny

@rrrun That's how UCLA does it?  Maybe the UCLA fanbase despises their own team and wishes that they play fewer home games.  Power Conference opponents require home and home visits.  Otherwise... they wouldn't be power conferences.  Good luck with attempting to play fewer home games.  That's a great way to grow your war chest with your alumni and boosters.

the_voice
the_voice

@meansonny @the_voice How many SEC teams play 2 good non-conference games a year now? The majority try to play one interesting game a year (the most regular exception to this is Georgia, who usually plays two). The bulk of the league membership starts their season with what should be 3.5 wins. All the better to get to a bowl game (any bowl game) so the fans don't revolt. Paying to watch a SEC team playing Stanford would be appealing. Paying to watch them play Samford? Not so much. Yet it is the Samfords of the world we see repetitiously on SEC schedules.

The SEC will get hammered by the new system if the SEC doesn't upgrade its schedule (see the effect of poor scheduling by examining the SEC's participation in the basketball tournament recently). The football committee will want diverse representation in the new playoff and will be looking for any excuse to keep the SEC to one team. The best way for SEC fans to avoid saying "we're the best league, so why don't we get a second team in the playoff?" is for the league office to force the issue to raise the bar on scheduling.

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

I don't think the UF/FSU game will be removed.  That's the same as the UGA/GT, USC/Clemson, & UK/Louisville in-state rival BCS games.

meansonny
meansonny

@DCPowerGator What a weak mentality towards football you're bringing.  How can you want to be an SEC Champion and be afraid of the competition within a division.  LSU complains about the cross division opponent.  But they've never complained about sharing a division with Alabama (because it would be lame).

1) This is college football.  The teams NEVER pick their conference schedule.  Complaining is a sign of mental weakness
2) Where's the playoff mentality?  Don't worry about who someone else is playing because you have to win your game, first.

Moving Bama and Auburn keeps the traditional games in tact (as a matter of fact, it adds UF v Auburn back to the schedule).  It frees up more cross divisional games.  It allows teams to control 4 non-conference games on their schedule (which is better for revenue).

The only downside is for the weakminded who want to worry about who someone else is playing.

DCPowerGator
DCPowerGator

@SouthernBoiSB @AndrewMartin I'll take 6-3 with no permanent rivals.  With this arrangement, those rivalry games people wax so nostalgic about (even though there are only really 2 or 3 that matter in the grand scheme of things) will still happen roughly every other year (OK, 3/7 = 43% but that's close enough to half for most of us).  Plus, it will add frequency to some of the former rivalry games that have already been lost in the shuffle such as Florida/Auburn.  Finally, it ensures that each team will face every team in the other division once every 3 years.  It's wrong to have a "conference," no matter what size, where you can play for 4 years and still not play every team in the conference at least once.  With this arrangement, in any given four year period, a school would face 5 of its other divisional opponents twice and the other two once.  Much better than it is now IMO.

rrrun
rrrun

@meansonny @rrrun As if D2 opponents are the way to grow your war chest with your alumni and boosters. Cupcake games should be eliminated. It's true that not all opponents are equal, but playing out of your division virtually ensures an uneven result. Oh, and last year, UCLA had 7 home games.

meansonny
meansonny

@SouthernBoiSB You're absolutely right.  I was thinking UF v the U... but the brain wasn't working.  Thanks for the pick me up.

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

Yes, your scenario DOES keep the UGA/Aub. & Tenn./Ala. games.....BUT @ the price of giving those in the West ANOTHER guaranteed W in Vandy & a possible W in Mizz..

The sides are balanced now:  3 top teams (UGA/UF/TN vrs. Ala./Aub./LSU), 1 "newbie" (Mizz. vrs. TA&M), 1 "older brother" (SC vrs. Ark.), & 2 low teams (Kentucky/Vanderbilt vrs. Miss./MSU).

Nobody needs to move other than making the schedule a 6-1-2 rotation.

FYI, the 4 teams with OOC in-state rivals are in the East.  We just need 3 others & the entire West to pick somebody for their schedules to fill the 10 "good" games.

meansonny
meansonny

@SouthernBoiSB  You're making my point.  It cycles.  And so long as there are really bad teams in a division, there will be really good teams in a division.  And so long as there are really good teams in the East, there will be teams that have lows in the East.

My recommendation doesn't do away with the cross-division "traditional" rivalries because it places them in the same division.  It preserves them and gives everyone else what they want.  More balance in the cross division because you rotate more teams.  It allows teams to keep their OOC in-state rivals.  And allows teams to schedule another quality opponent to make 10 good games (it is easier to manage the quality of opponent going OOC than it is to be dictated who you play in the opposite division through a round-robin approach.  As I keep saying... for every good team in a division, there is one in the crapper).

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

Tennessee used to be a beast.  Remember, they were 1 of the top 6 in the SEC back when the rotations were started in '92 & have been a strong presence in the SEC's history.  Don't look @ the current level of teams & look @ their HISTORY.  People used to walk all over Alabama a few years ago.  Look @ where they are now.

I listed Mizz. as an unknown since their 1st year in the SEC was an initiation season.  Give them & TA&M some time & we'll see what happens.

Of course there are going to be "bad" teams.  No disrespect, but Kentucky/Vandy/Miss./MSU historically have been on the bottom of the fb totem pole as long as I can remember.  But you're taking 3 of them & moving them to the West.  &, if Mizz. doesn't become a stronger opponent, LSU/Ark./TA&M can already give themselves a 4-0 SEC record @ the start of the season. In the East, Kentucky would be 0-6.

& you're right- you want to win titles, WIN your schedule.  So why should we do away with cross-division rivalries & shuffle teams around?

meansonny
meansonny

@SouthernBoiSB As if Tennessee Missouri, and Kentucky weren't guaranteed wins in the East in 2012?  There are always going to be bad teams.  As a matter of fact... it's a requirement when you have dominant teams at the same time.

Keep in mind that the West will have to come East 2 times to take on a mixture of UGA, UF, USCe, Bama, UT, and Auburn.

What's the point?  The point is if you want to win the SEC Championship... win your games.  Regardless of who is on your schedule.

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

My brain ain't working completely this morning either.

That should have been:  Vanderbilt (weak).

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

But you still didn't address that 3 bottom fb teams will be in the West.....almost guaranteeing W's for TA&M, LSU, Ark., & Mizz..

Your proposal:

East:  Alabama (strong), Auburn (strong), Florida (strong), Georgia (strong), Kentucky (weak), SC (becoming strong), Tennessee (strong)

West:  Arkansas (strong), LSU (strong), Mississippi (weak), MSU (weak), Mizz. (don't know), TA&M (strong), Vanderbilt (strong)

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

1 OOD team?  How so?

East:  Florida, Kentucky, Mizzouri, SC, Tennessee, Vanderbilt - 6 games

cross - rival:  Auburn - 1 game

West:  Ala./Ark. (year 1); LSU/Miss. (year 2);  MSU/TA&M (year 3) - 2 games

That's 3 years to play everybody @ least once.  & something Les Miles is pushing for WITHOUT having to end cross-rivals.

&, FYI, I've not heard many from Florida who want to end the LSU rivalry.  Most are happy with the game.  Just about all articles are saying LSU (mostly Les Miles), SC, & TA&M don't like them (even though the Aggies figure that's just part of the SEC).

DCPowerGator
DCPowerGator

@SouthernBoiSB  there would be one out of division team you wouldn't get until 4 years with a 6-1-2.  uga/auburn and alabama/tennessee the only games keeping this permanent rival thing alive in the first place.  seems like those four are the few being kept happy while the other 10 teams are negatively impacted via permanently unbalanced scheduling.

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

& you can play everybody in 3 years with a 6-1-2 setup.

BTW, the UGA/Aub. rivalry has only missed 2 years since it started in 1892.....& those were due to WWI & WWII.  I don't think it's right for us to ruin that just to make a few happy.

meansonny
meansonny

@rrrun Instead of focusing on the 12th weakest team on a schedule, wouldn't it make more sense to focus on fixing games 6-10 first?  I never understand the knee-jerk reaction fans make to the 12th worst team on a schedule when games 6-10 are worse than mediocre.

meansonny
meansonny

@rrrun You keep your fanbase happy with home games.  Are you expecting UGA to travel to UCLA without a return visit?  Absolutely not.  The only teams that are visiting your stadium without a home visit are by definition... cupcakes.  Count em up.

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