April 17th, 2014 10:35 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Auburn Georgia, Big Five, John Swofford, SEC
“Today doesn’t exist for me. I live in tomorrow. That’s my job. Today is the job of 35 other people (on the SEC’s staff). I am the trustee of a sacred public trust, and if you live in the South, you know exactly what I mean.”
ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel points out that Slive also stated last night that the SEC will decide at next month’s spring meetings whether or not the league will switch from an eight-game football schedule to a nine-game conference schedule (beginning in 2016).
Slive’s views on today/tomorrow are shared by any good executive, any good leader. During the recent conference expansion craze, for example, Slive had to consider how additions to the league would look in 20 years or 50 years, not just in the now. The same goes for everything else the man does. What are the long-term ramifications of his league’s actions?
At MrSEC.com, we’ve stated on many occasions that we believe the league should move to a nine-game conference slate. Such a move would protect the league’s oldest rivalries (Alabama/Tennessee, Auburn/Georgia, Mississippi/Vanderbilt). And when it comes to protecting “a sacred public trust,” there is nothing more important than the traditions built over the past 81 years.
A nine-game schedule would also allow SEC schools to see teams from the opposite division more often. Call us crazy, but if you’re in a conference you should probably see everyone else as often as you can.
But switching to a nine-game schedule would also aid the league moving into the future.
We suspect that the new College Football Playoff selection committee will do it’s best to pick teams from four different conferences when it comes selecting who’ll compete for the national crown. Strength of schedule will be a important factor in that process. The Big Ten has announced nine-game schedules beginning in 2016. The Pac-12 is going with nine-games as is the Big 12. ACC commissioner John Swofford said in February that there is “considerable support” for a move to nine games in his league as well. If the SEC doesn’t move to nine, it will be the only major conference playing eight league games… which means SEC teams will likely play one more cupcake than teams in other conferences will. If the selection panel is looking for reasons to keep a second SEC team out of its playoff, you can bet the cupcake issue would loom large.
Nick Saban is just about the only SEC football coach to date to publicly push for a nine-game schedule. Most other coaches want to avoid anything that might make getting to six wins and a bowl game more difficult. But if Slive’s job is to think about the future, he needs to convince a few more coaches, ADs and presidents that a move to nine games is most likely the wisest step.
Unfortunately, we don’t believe that will happen.
That means come 2016 and 2017, the SEC will be at a disadvantage in the new playoff landscape that was created immediately after the BCS featured an SEC versus SEC title game. The playoff now exists to prevent such SEC dominance. A decision to become the only eight-game league in the Big Five conferences would only aid those who are looking to “spread the wealth” among all the leagues.
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