The SEC’s spring meetings start today, and the heart of all the discussion revolves around the scheduling conundrum for the immediate and long-term future of the conference.
The current eight-game conference schedule is expected to last through 2014 or 2015, with most expecting the conference to move to a future nine-game schedule. The current 6-1-1 model features six division games, one permanent cross-divisional opponent and one rotating cross-divisional opponent.
And the one coach who has been the most outspoken out of the 14 about the current model, particularly permanent cross-divisional rivalries, is LSU’s Les Miles.
Miles is tired of playing Florida every year, while he watches Alabama play Tennessee every year. And to be fair, he has a point. Alabama has won the last six against Tennessee and are currently 7-3 in the last 10 years, while LSU is tied 5-5 with Florida in their last 10. The Gators are 98-33 over the last decade, while Tennessee is 72-54. Tennessee isn’t the Tennessee of old, and Florida is vying for a national title picture nearly every single year.
Miles made his intentions known during the SEC’s post-spring teleconference, where he suggested abolishing permanent cross-divisional rivalries and selecting two cross-divisional opponents via computer.
“It’s interesting to see how you would compare our schedule with others,” Miles said on the SEC coaches’ post-spring teleconference. “I wonder if there should be no permanent partners. I wonder if we couldn’t choose cross-division opponents through a random computer draw.”
And just last week, he was on with Tim Brando discussing how certain teams have ‘unintended and unearned advantages’ with the current model, via AL.
“I think there is some unintended, unearned advantages by scheduling. I mean unintended, the conference put it in there and they tried to deal with the traditions of the conference and tried to make things work. I think the unintended has to do with that. No question there are some advantages by scheduling. You can deny historically, traditionally that those two teams are pretty strong. And those two teams can make a difference in what is the Western Division championship. And they can make a difference year after year if the scheduling is not some way made equal.”
The main reason for the SEC even installing the current 6-1-1 schedule format is to protect the Alabama-Tennessee and Georgia-Auburn rivalries, and there will be much discussion about both preserving and eliminating those this week.
Eliminating permanent cross-divisional rivalries are unrealistic, especially when next year’s SEC Network will be unveiled. Programming will be paramount.
Miles will be a man on a mission this week, and we’ll see what transpires – if anything – because of it.
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