April 23rd, 2014 10:39 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, Charleston Southern, College Football Playoff, SEC
Nick Saban has been the only vocal proponent among SEC coaches when it comes to switching to an nine-game league schedule. According to the coach, that’s because there’s not much support whatsoever for adopting a nine-game slate… vocal or otherwise:
“I don’t think there’s any support for that, it doesn’t seem like. I think there’s a little bit more support for staying with an eight-games schedule and everybody playing a ninth opponent that’s in the five major conferences.
My thing is I’m for playing nine conference games and still playing another team in the major conferences, so you play 10 games because of fan interest, people coming to games looking forward to seeing more good games.
So that’s the starting point for me. I think it’s important for the players to be able to play more teams in the SEC East, on the other side, which we only get to play one now. I don’t know if we stay with the 6-1-1 or 6-0-2. I don’t know.”
Saban might be the only smart coach in the conference when it comes to scheduling. In terms of strength of schedule for the new playoff, it appears now that the SEC would be the only league not playing nine conference games and a 10th game against a power league. That means each SEC team would play three cupcakes instead of two and that will give the playoff selection committee reason enough to exclude a second SEC team from the playoff in coming years.
Also, with schools battling attendance issues, one would think adding a league game would make for a better box office draw. If you’re an Auburn fan, for example, would you rather see your team play Oregon or Charleston Southern. Exactly.
The league’s coaches met yesterday. SEC commissioner Mike Slive said last week that a decision on future schedules could come in the next couple of weeks. One small group — likely led by Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia — is probably going to vote in favor of a nine-game slate or an eight-game slate that protects crossover rivalries like Alabama/Tennessee and Auburn/Georgia. Another small group — led by LSU and South Carolina — is expected to push for an eight-game schedule with no permanent rivals. The SEC presidents will ultimately make the decision. Best bet? The compromise would seem to be the status quo — eight games with permanent rivals.
If/when the SEC gets bumped from the College Football Playoff over a strength of schedule issue, you can bet this topic will be revisited.
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