Arkansas’ Sam Pittman went to a place coaches normally never go when talking about the long run of the SEC soccer scheduling: He advised offering fans what they want.
Numerous coaches contemplate what is most effective for their have occupations when considering the plan. They consider, “How can I timetable six victories?”
But Pittman lower to the heart of the subject when he said he would help the SEC increasing from eight to nine meeting games, an notion that is less than consideration by the league.
“I feel it would be fantastic for football and good for the lovers,” Pittman explained to me in June, “and let us face it, they are the ones buying the tickets.”
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Could not agree additional, but why end at nine?
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey claimed jokingly final thirty day period that the meeting may well bypass a nine-game league timetable in favor of 10 SEC games.
What Sankey claimed in jest ought to become a legitimate thought to check out.
I know the acquainted arguments towards growing the convention routine:
Won’t enjoying a tougher program hamstring packages hoping to ascend? Perhaps, but why permit cellar-dwellers get in the way of progress? If a mentor is counting on a couple of once-a-year wins from Mid-American Conference teams as the critical to a rebuild, I never have a great deal hope for him anyway.
Wouldn’t more convention game titles present a bigger hurdle for teams to qualify for the College or university Soccer Playoff or acquire a countrywide championship? That narrative conveniently ignores that Alabama romped its way to a countrywide title in 2020 while navigating a pandemic-induced 10-video game SEC schedule.
How a 10-activity SEC football routine could do the job
Sankey’s quip about a 10-video game SEC schedule produced me surprise whether or not a structure could be constructed within just a 16-team convention right after Oklahoma and Texas sign up for. The SEC ideas to ditch divisions just after expansion, so any agenda approach would need to have to arrive from a no-division structure.
Implementing a number of ounces of mind electrical power, I devised this design for a 10-game convention agenda:
Each staff would play 5 specified SEC rivals just about every period. Then, it would play five of the 10 remaining groups in flip-flop vogue, facing a person established of five in odd-numbered several years, and the other 5 in even-numbered a long time.
This would allow teams to play every single of their SEC friends at the very least the moment just about every two yrs, while preserving best rivalries. A 10-video game convention slate would leave place for a single marquee nonconference clash, as well as a game in opposition to a cupcake opponent.
Certainly, that signifies trimming (in most cases) two pushovers off the agenda, but, to reiterate, supply the spending clients what they want. How numerous period-ticket holders would mourn the nixing of an 11 a.m. September activity against Akron?
Assigning 5 rivals for every group would demand a several compromises, and competitive balance ought to be taken into account. No team should really have to experience 5 rivals that each year rank amongst the SEC’s leading teams, and no group really should be assigned five scrubs.
Here’s what I came up with:
Alabama – Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Texas
Arkansas – Missouri, Ole Overlook, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M
Auburn – Alabama, Florida, Ga, Mississippi Point out, Vanderbilt
Florida – Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, South Carolina
Georgia – Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee
Kentucky – Florida, Ga, Mississippi Condition, South Carolina, Tennessee
LSU – Alabama, Florida, Ole Skip, Mississippi Condition, Texas A&M
Ole Pass up – Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi Condition, Oklahoma, Vanderbilt
Mississippi Condition – Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Skip
Missouri – Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Oklahoma – Arkansas, Ole Pass up, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M
South Carolina – Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Tennessee – Alabama, Ga, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vanderbilt
Texas – Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas A&M
Texas A&M – Arkansas, LSU, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas
Vanderbilt – Auburn, Ole Skip, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee
A number of rivalries may perhaps have to be sacrificed on an once-a-year foundation to make the puzzle items match. In my suggested format, I dropped matchups such as Florida-Tennessee, Arkansas-LSU and Kentucky-Vanderbilt for the sake of the overall assembly. Each individual of those people teams would enjoy other good quality rivalries, and the online games left on the slicing room ground would occur in alternate yrs.
Of course, this is almost certainly a fantasy. After all, the SEC has very long resisted increasing to even 9 convention video games. Ten might br
ing about quick hyperventilation amongst coaches whose job standing is hanging by a thread.
Or, maybe Sankey will quip about an 11-game SEC schedule at following year’s media days, at which place, I’ll return to the drawing board.
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