I haven’t posted a lot lately. Between work, traveling for work and feebly attempting to keep up with a very active 15 month old, it has been hard to find the time. And, I mean, there hasn’t been anything that has perked my curiosity enough to blog about. Recruiting and G-Day are all good story lines, but I don’t think I can add anything on these topics that others haven’t already touched on. I’ll worry about all this window dressing when it matters in September, October and November.
But the news of the SEC finally making a decision on future scheduling has gotten my attention, and all the complaining of the perceived unfairness of schedules has struck a nerve with me.
Of all the guys on ESPN, Chris Low is right up at the top to me. He has covered the SEC for a very long time, and gets it. He can see above the fray and see the big picture.
However, he couldn’t be more wrong with in this column. Basically, the SEC’s new scheduling decision to keep it 6-1-1 and mandate an additional BCS level (I know this technically doesn’t exist anymore but you know what I mean) game in 2016 is bad. Why? Basically tradition is good, but times change, and schools need to play more often, completive imbalance, blah, blah, blah.
I don’t know about you, but I think the SEC has 100% made the right call here. It has preserved the tradition-rich rivalries which have made the league what it is. It has also said that schools must branch out and play more compelling out of conference match ups.
SEC pride and tradition has made it what is today-the premier conference for college football. Sure, I’d love to play at Ole Miss, Alabama and Texas A&M more frequently. The opportunity to travel to different destinations is very appealing. I love going on road trips to different venues. But not to forsake the important rivalry games.
As I said in a post last year, the rivalry games of college football is what makes this sport so great. There is a passion in these games that, to use the cliché, the records don’t matter. It is a blood war.
Games like Georiga-Auburn and the Third Saturday in October are part of what makes this conference so great. Likewise, the Big 12 abandoning its marquee rivalry games is a big reason that league doesn’t exist in the same way it used to. Oklahoma-Nebraska and Texas-Texas A&M are casualties of conference expansion. The SEC is wise in preserving these great games, because they are in effect preserving itself.
I’ll also like to point out that inherently, these match ups are fair and comparable. Sure, some teams go through down cycles. Tennessee sucks now, but Alabama sucked 10 years ago. It is all cyclical and works out fair.
When the SEC started the 6-1-1 model, there were fair matchups and incredible balance. The Big 6 played each other, Arkansas and South Carolina squared off, Kentucky played Mississippi and Ole Miss drew Vanderbilt. It worked out because there was balance. Arkansas and South Carolina might have years of success here and there, but by and large are equal. The other 4 also rans might be good periodically, but overall they are all about the same.
Also, the big boys are already playing “BCS” out of conference games. Georgia plays Tech, Florida with FSU, South Carolina with Clemson. LSU does a great job of playing marquee out of conference games-TCU, Oregon, Wisconsin this year. Alabama has played Penn State, Michigan, Clemson, and Virginia Tech in recent years.
The SEC absolutely got it right. If anything, they made it more fair by making teams like Ole Miss and Texas A&M who play embarrassing OOC schedules play at least one legitimate team.
These naysayers need to just shut up.