Just so I understand. A fair schedule is impossible, so it's a good idea to make it even more unfair with annual cross conference "rival" games that lock some teams into annual easy games and others into annual hard contests. Fascinating logic. Oh well, it's not like it really matters who wins the SEC football championship anyway, does it?
It was just a matter of time before someone somewhere found a reason to call the SEC’s just-released 2014 schedule unfair. For Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel, it took less than eight hours to go from “schedule released” to this: “Forget about Gators winning 2014 SEC title: League schedule unfair to UF.”
Yes. Unfair. Because the Gators get Alabama as their rotating West Division foe next season. Florida also plays LSU each year as their permanent foe (though Gator AD Jeremy Foley has thankfully never complained, cried or whined about that fact).
In 2014, UF will have Alabama and LSU from the West and Georgia and South Carolina from the East. For those with head injuries, Georgia and South Carolina are always on the Gators’ schedule thanks to that whole round-robin-inside-your-division thing.
With big, bad Bama on the Florida schedule — and some Gator-backers quaking in their jorts — here are the options for UF’s fans and fans of every other school who will begin to file their own schedule complaints soon enough:
1. Convince your favorite school to leave the SEC because your favorite school’s football team is just too darn weak to compete.
2. Shut the hell up and let your team play the games on its schedule.
The number of people who can’t get it through their heads that no schedule rotation can ever be “fair” to all teams — I’ll pause so you can read that again — is astounding. Bianchi knows this, of course, but he’s an A-1 pot-stirrer.
Unless all 14 SEC schools play all the other 13 SEC schools — both home and away, mind you — a fair schedule is completely and totally unattainable. And I don’t believe a 26-game schedule is currently under consideration by Mike Slive, Larry Templeton or the league’s athletic directors.
So let’s just dump the permanent rivals, right? What happens when Florida lands both LSU and Alabama via rotation? If it’s a random rotation, a team could land Alabama and LSU anyway.
Or should the rotations be based upon everyone’s preseason expectations? Oh, right, Texas A&M kind of jumped up and bit everyone in their rears just last year, didn’t they? So that won’t work.
Well, how about someone just program a computer to toss out the schedules at random (as Les Miles has suggested)? Sure. And you’ll hear nary a peep from fans or columnists when Alabama draws from Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State each year while LSU is randomly assigned Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. If a computer is just throwing stuff out at random, that could very easily happen.
Look, fans will be fans. I get that. Your passion can sometimes be blinding. It’s a major reason the SEC is the #1 football league in America. So despite the yearly whines and moan, you’ll get a pass on this one.
Bianchi and columnists who fan the flames of this sort of nonsense are the real problem.
How many times have you read that School X needs to schedule tougher non-conference opponents. “No one wants to see Ypsilanti State come to town. School X’s schedule is too weak.” Happens all the time. Hell, the SEC as a whole gets blasted for scheduling patsies and tomato cans every single season.
Ah, but as soon as there’s an opportunity to fire people up about a schedule that’s too tough, well, many of us in the media reverse field quicker than Johnny Manziel. Too weak, too tough, we can always find some way to complain about schedules.
In case you haven’t picked up on it by now, this particular writer is tired of hearing people beg and moan for a “fair” schedule when such a set-up simply can not be created. It’s impossible. So we keep coming back to the same thought and the same solution.
The Southeastern Conference is the toughest conference in America (outside of the NFL, which also has unbalanced schedules, thank you). If a school can’t hack it in the SEC when the schedule-makers’ rotation throws them one extra tough game in a season… I say, leave.