Slive to SEC Coaches: Improve Your Schedules
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After voting unanimously, 13-1 (Les Miles words, not mine), to keep an eight-game SEC schedule at least for now, Commissioner Mike Slive didn't mince words when addressing the coaches Wednesday that he expects them to improve their football schedules.
"I made it clear (to the schools) to upgrade (their non-conference) schedules."
Slive and Alabama head coach Nick Saban are no fools. They know that, once certain conferences go to a nine-game conference schedules, it could hurt the SEC down the line if they don't do the same. The Pac-12 has played a nine-game schedule since 2006 (when it was still the Pac-10); the Big XII has since gone to it, and the Big Ten has recently voted to implement it.
Saban realized that some time ago. In the past few years, Alabama has opened up their season on the road several times. The Tide has been in Atlanta -- like they will this year, opening up against Virginia Tech -- meeting Clemson a few years ago, and they've sojourned to Dallas like they did last season, starting the season against Big Ten powerhouse Michigan.
The one year the Tide played an easy home opener was back in 2011. They then played Penn State in Happy Valley the following week.
Down the road, the Tide will also face Wisconsin in a couple of years.
When other coaches saw the advantages that Saban was getting just by starting the season on the road, several teams have followed suit.
Tennessee will play Oregon the same day Alabama faces Texas A&M. Auburn will open their season at home against Washington State. Georgia opens with Clemson, LSU opens against TCU and Mississippi State opens with Oklahoma State.
So Slive's cries for his coaches to improve their schedules in the future is not falling on deaf ears, but if the SEC wants to continue to not only to contend but win national championships, the little sisters of the poor will have to be dropped from schedules as soon as next year, with the new college football playoff being implemented.