Hey Les, ‘fairness’ is not a word that belongs in the SEC

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Les Miles is leading the charge to eliminate the permanent cross-division opponents in SEC conference play. LSU plays Florida every year, and according to Miles, that just isn’t fair compared to other teams – most notably Alabama and their annual match up against Tennessee.

The problem with this crusade isn’t that it’s wrong to eliminate the permanent cross-divisional opponents. The problem is that Les Miles is using the argument of fairness.

Fairness is the most overused term in American culture today. The masses eat up the idea of fairness and the promotion of a level playing field. We tell our kids that they can grow up to be the President of the United States. We love to buy into the idea that as long as we work hard, we will be extremely successful while conveniently ignoring people we know who work very hard and somehow aren’t very successful.

The bigger lie is that we even like the idea of fairness. We don’t. It’s just not politically correct to admit it. We secretly love when a team like the New York Yankees or the Miami Heat assembles more stars than other teams. Even if we don’t like these teams, we love to hate them. And while we might be quick to point to the lack of a salary cap in a sport such as MLB, no sport is less about fairness than college football.

The beauty of college football is that it is assymetrical. Teams play in different conferences and play completely different sets of teams. The idea of the bottom tier of FBS teams lining up against the top tier is almost laughable. This leads to nonstop debate and weekly polls that we all can’t wait to see. The uneven nature of college football is what makes it unique.

It may be time to eliminate the permanent cross-divisional opponents, but the argument shouldn’t be to legislate fairness. Schools can change up their non-conference schedule if they have a heavy conference schedule each year. The fact that LSU plays Florida every year could actually help them in the upcoming college football playoff which will emphasize strength of schedule.

It’s this strength of schedule that gives Les Miles in most cases the ability to lose a game and still get into the big dance. Ohio State doesn’t have that option. Because of the awful state of the Big Ten, Ohio State has no breathing room. They lose once and they’re not in the big dance.

My prediction is that the permanent cross-divisional opponents will go away. It will be in conjunction with a move to a nine-game conference schedule. The SEC will move to nine games, but a concession to the coaches that have a concern about it will likely be to remove the permanent cross-divisional foes. For example, why would Will Muschamp want to add a 9th SEC game when he has permanent games against LSU and Florida State every year? By eliminating the LSU game as an annual matchup, it can alleviate the concerns.

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

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  • Great article,
    I agree, all this talk about fairness is really a moot point. There is plenty of unfairness in the world and especially in the realm of college football (most would agree a UA-UGA rematch for the BCS NC would’ve been the fairest thing last year).
    I do believe however, Les Miles has an absolute right and duty as LSU representative to argue for the removal of permanent cross division rivals. He is looking out for what is best for LSU, that is his job. Just like everyone who argues to block in-state rivals from joining the SEC, and those who will vote against a 9 game schedule because it makes their school have a harder time getting to a bowl game. Sometimes the things they stand for are for the best of the conference, sometimes they are not. However, it is their duty to voice their concern to improve their teams chance to win, and it is their job, along with Mike Slive to eventually reach an agreement that suits all of those in the conference to make sure the SEC is just as dominant tomorrow as it has been for the last 7 years.

  • The Florida fan that wrote this disgraceful article should be fired, just look at the title: “Hey Les, ‘fairness’ is not a word that belongs in the SEC” (completely calling out Les Miles and LSU like it’s their fault for the scheduling) I’m sure you would not have even wrote this if your Gators had to play Bama every year. I hope Les calls you out soon in an upcoming press conference for writing this disgraceful article and making it seem like he is a coward or something with this SEC scheduling.

    • Do you not find your comment a little ironic seeing as Florida (and the Florida fan who wrote this article) never complains about having to play the powerhouse of LSU every single year? In my book LSU is a little bit better than Florida most years (Even though they have pretty much split the series as of late). If UF and LSU had major problems with it then the argument would have more of a leg to stand on, but they don’t. Florida actually has more of a reason to complain seeing as one of their non-conference games they play every year is FSU which makes their schedule even tougher.

      • LSU is just tired of bashing it out with Florida every year, as Bama prances around with Tennessee. I don’t mean to take any credit away from Tennessee, but the LSU-UF game is just brutal. You can see the toll it takes on the players in following weeks.

        • From a coach whose only title, came in spite of losing to Kentucky and his last regular season game to Arkansas. Gotta keep those world beaters like Arkansas and Kentucky off your schedule.

  • I do not agree with simply changing or eliminating permanent cross-divisional rivalries in the name of ‘fairness’. Of course I’m not calling LSU cowards and Kevin isn’t either, but they’re the only school complaining about them.

  • I wonder if Les or any of the other LSU crybabies were concerned about fairness when the games Bama played against SEC teams coming off a bye week DOUBLED the next closest? Never heard a word. Though it lasted two to three years I didn’t hear anybody concerned abotu “fairness”. “Fairness” only matters when pertains to “your” team. But when “unfairness” happens to other teams nobody gives a crap. So I don’t give a crap. Let Les and the LSU crybabies continue to whine. It’s what they do best.

  • hey kevin. a friend of mine suggested this: “Better: scrap the divisions altogether, and get every SEC program to find four conference partners to play every year. Every school will play those 4 games every year, and the other 4 or 5 conference game rotate. That way any player who stays 4 years plays every SEC program at least twice. Everybody’s happy, including the fans.”

    • NCAA rules state that you have to have divisions to have a Conference Championship game. I like your idea and wonder if you could have 3 five team divisions (of course we’d have to add another team). That way you could play the four games in your division and rotate two teams from the other two divisions for 8 SEC games.

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