The headaches associated with conference expansion produced a horrifying side effect this offseason.
That word has become the subject of a heated debate among players, coaches and administrators.
The most powerful coach in SEC football weighed in on the subject on Day 3 of SEC Media Days at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban lobbied for his preference of moving the SEC schedule to nine games in the future.
"It's what's right for players and makes most sense." Saban said in the main ballroom of the Wynfrey Hotel.
He took things a step further, according to Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com.
Saban shrugs off idea that a 9-game schedule is too difficult: "It would just be an opportunity to prove you are a quality team."— Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) July 19, 2012
Let's go ahead and put this out there—the SEC will move to a nine-game conference schedule in the future, but it doesn't have anything to do with the players. In fact, another SEC game in place of a cupcake would be more difficult for the players, so that logic is flawed.
It does, however, make sense—for the SEC's bottom line.
The SEC is in the midst of renegotiating its media-rights contract with CBS and ESPN, and the two primary television partners have already voiced their preference for more inventory—particularly on weeks when the SEC traditionally doesn't have compelling matchups.
The addition of Texas A&M and Missouri will certainly help in that regard, but a nine-game conference schedule would give the networks seven more SEC games to choose from.
It's going to happen eventually, and Saban is wise to hop on board now. But saying that it's for the players isn't the primary reason it should happen.
Barrett Sallee is a lead writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.