The following words won’t sit well in Knoxville or Tuscaloosa. It’ll rile up folks in Auburn and Athens. I’m sorry, but it’s time to blow up the current SEC scheduling formula.
The current formula consists of every one of the SEC’s 12 members to play eight conference games.
Currently, each SEC team plays:
- All five teams in their division every year, on a rotating Home-and-Home basis.
- Two rotating opponents from the opposite division, in a two-year series—again, Home-and-Home.
-1 lock from the opposite division. (Home and Home)
The locks have got to go. I’m all in favor of facing everyone in your division. But the SEC could streamline itself by emulating the Big XII, which is also set up in a twelve-team, two-division format.
The Big XII operates the same way, with division opponents playing a round robin. But their inter-divisional games are different and quite simple.
Each school plays three teams from the opposite division for two straight seasons on a Home-and-Home basis.
Then for the second half of the four year cycle, each school plays the three other teams on a two-season, Home-and-Home series.
Everyone plays everyone fairly, and there are no four-year gaps between playing a conference opponent, just two-year gaps.
So let’s have an example:
The way the system works now, a team like the SEC West’s Auburn plays two rotating opponents from the East (Tennessee and Vanderbilt in 2008) and one lock opponent (Georgia).
Is it fair to Auburn—or UGA, for that matter—to play the same lock every year, while a team like Ole Miss gets Vanderbilt? (Sorry ‘Dores fans, just an example.)
Under the new system a team like Auburn could play:
Now this is where most of you SECers are saying:
“What about the third Saturday in October?”
“What about the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry?”
There are twelve teams in the SEC, and eight of them don’t care about playing their locks every year. The world would continue to exist with a two-year gap between these rivalries. I promise.
Don’t believe me?
Ask Oklahoma and Nebraska fans.
They don’t play their storied rivalry every year, and somehow the world continues to spin on its axis.
Why should an LSU fan have to wait four years in between meetings with Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia? It’s too long. Many fans enjoy traveling to these venues and the chances to do so are too spread out.
The other thing is everyone rotates fairly. No longer would one team have a perennial power as a lock while another has perennial cellar dweller. The old way is done in the name of tradition only and little else.
Times change, the world evolves and progresses.
While, in this writer’s humble opinion, the SEC is unparalleled in its level of play, it’s time to make a change in scheduling for the sake of leveling the playing field. It can be done, but it probably won’t happen for a long time