SEC May Lose Traditional Games if It Adopts a Nine-Game Schedule
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The SEC may be facing a huge dilemma.
What will the conference do about traditional games that maybe affected if it doesn't move to a nine-game schedule.
Match-ups like Tennessee-Alabama and Auburn-Georgia might be gone if the SEC doesn't do anything. If it does, rivalries like Florida-Florida State and Georgia-Georgia Tech could be harder to continue.
Most coaches seem to be against the nine-game schedule, but conference commissioner Mike Slive just might impose his will on the situation. As of now, the SEC is the only power conference that isn't going to that format, and he knows that not moving in that direction could be costly.
As a Bama grad, I personally wouldn't miss the Tennessee game. The Tide has dominated this one over the past few years, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
But the Auburn-Georgia game is another story. That pairing has produced some of the bests finishes we've seen in the SEC, with last season's game providing the perfect example:
The Tigers and Bulldogs also have one of the longest rivalries in the SEC, and it would be a shame to see it go. But some SEC coaches have been complaining that certain teams have an easier road to Atlanta than others. Last year, for instance, Alabama didn't have to face South Carolina, Florida or Georgia, but those teams didn't have to face Alabama, either.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban doesn't see other SEC coaches supporting the nine-game schedule.
"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."
He's right there. Two of the biggest drawbacks to change in the SEC have been teams wanting to be certain they get their six wins to become eligible for bowl games -- and scheduling cupcakes is the usual helper -- and they don't want to lose a home gate, where they can pack the house and keep most of the money. Home-and-home contracts don't always get that done, where paying a smaller program to come in and get thrashed -- Savannah State has made a cottage industry out of this -- is much more profitable in the short term.
But Saban has seen where the latter act is wearing thin.
Then there's the new college football playoff. Having to play a nine-game SEC schedule is a hell of a lot more impressive than playing eight games plus one with a minnow from a lesser league.
I think the only way the SEC coaches will change their mind will be when an SEC team is left out of the four-game playoff because it had a weak schedule.
Then perhaps coaches will open their eyes before their eyes are opened for them by the rest of the college football world.