SEC Football is facing quite a dilemma (no, not involving Les Miles) that will ultimately decide how many times you get to enjoy the league in the fall and in what format. As the Spring SEC Meetings are underway in Destin, Florida, the primary topic of discussion seems to be what type of schedule the league will adopt moving forward. 8 or 9 games? Keep the permanent rivals? Everything is on the table.
Now, as the new kids on the block who are already gaining a rowdy attitude around the league, we really shouldn't have much say. Kevin Sumlin agrees.
"We're the new guys, so we kind of jacked up the schedules" Sumlin told DMN's Kate Hairopoulous.
"If you look at it through a straw and how it affects you ... then you're not going to be for it," Saban said. "I shouldn't be for it. We'd have a better chance to be successful if we don't do it, but I think it's best for the game and for the league. I'm trying to look at it from 1,000 feet."
Every other coach seems to oppose the 9 game league schedule, and they make valid points. Yes, even Bret Bielema.
"You add a ninth game and that's seven more losses for our conference , we want to fill all our bowl slots and represent our conference." -- Hugh Freeze
Of course Ole Miss is only thinking about how they can get to a bowl game.
"Again, we've won the last seven national championships with similar models to what we have now." -- James Franklin
Great point, James Franklin. Its almost like you come from a respectable institution.
"A wise man once taught me: if it ain't broke, don't fix it." -- Bret Bielema
So then why did you leave Wisconsin???
My take -- play 9 games. Who doesn't want an extra weekend of SEC Football? Don't give me this line about how it will be difficult to win that one extra game, effecting the chance we make it to the College Football Playoff. Have we not broken away from this mentality yet? That is the kind of talk LSU throws around when they mention ditching Florida as a permanent rival. It's time to take off the panties and realize our boys will be the group no one wants to see in that extra, ninth game. Why would you trade an extra weekend of SEC football with the best fans and the best stadiums in the country for yet another 49-3 beatdown of SMU? And God-forbid that game is in Dallas instead of Kyle.
For A&M, you have to love what the 9 game conference schedule would look like. It creates balance. Starting in 2014, the series against Arkansas will be returning to Cowboy's Stadium in Arlington as a neutral site game. With an 8 game conference schedule, there will be those odd years where only 3 SEC teams come to Kyle. LAME. A 9 game schedule? We get 4 SEC teams at Kyle every season, making it a 4 home-4 road-1 neutral site schedule breakdown. I've seen some articles saying that it would be a 5-3-1 split -- meaning 5 road conference games in odd years; that is bullshit. Do we really believe the SEC would create such an illogical unbalance? The SEC doesn't operate like the Big 12. Plus Florida fans might cry about it (Georgia-Florida is the other neutral site conference game that would benefit).
And finally -- The Big 10 is going to play nine conference games. C'mon. But I guess it doesn't count if it isn't real football. Point taken.
But what about this permanent rival business?
This is the point in the article where I bring in The Roommate Switch. It's a brilliant and perfect solution. It's too complicated to lay out here, but please read it if you aren't familiar with it already.
Other than that, I think the answer is simple -- stay at 8 games, no rival. Go to 9 games, keep the permanent rival intact. A 6-1-1 format does not allow you to rotate through the other division fast enough. I may no longer be on this earth by the time we get a piece of Kentucky. And I love my bourbon (and other accessories), just like Billy G. The 6-2-1 format on the other hand means you cycle through the other division in 6 years. You could also make sure the athletes play every SEC team during their time on campus if you allow for the rotations to occur in three years (no return trips and vice versa the following year).
So I'm pro-9 conference games and 6-2-1 format, if the roommate switch is not an option. Dammit, I can't believe I am agreeing with Nick Saban. What say you?