Scott Stricklin believes 8-game SEC schedule works but supports end to permanent cross-divisional games
Under the direction of Scott Stricklin’s leadership, the Florida football program has taken great strides in a relatively short amount of time. Florida’s athletic director has been on the job in Gainesville for just over two years after leaving the same position at his alma mater, Mississippi State, and the Gators just finished with a top 10 team in what many predicted would be a rebuilding year.
Stricklin is also currently a member of the College Football Playoff Committee and played a role in determining the Playoff field for 2018.
Florida’s AD was recently in the news after emails between he and his counterpart at UCF, Danny White, were leaked to the media. At the heart of the story, Florida offered UCF a 2-for-1 deal, the same deal USF agreed to during the previous offseason, but White refused to accept the offer. White countered with a three-game series, a home-and-home and a neutral site game between Florida and UCF but Stricklin did not accept.
During a recent interview with Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun, Stricklin was asked about the fallout from the leaked email exchange with White and the discussions of a potential Florida-UCF series.
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“I don’t think it was fair for either school the way it came out. It’s just part of it. I’m asked a question and Danny (White) is trying to respond to what I say and it took on a life of its own,” Stricklin answered.
Another interesting response from the Sun’s interview with Stricklin came when Florida’s AD was asked about the SEC’s eight-game conference schedule. While Stricklin does not want to see the SEC mandate the expansion to a nine-game conference schedule — noting that the SEC and ACC annually have teams reach the College Football Playoff after playing eight-game conference schedules — he does support an end to permanent cross-division rivalries.
“I’m open for suggestions, but in a two-year period with eight home conference games every two years, seven of those eight are the same. There needs to be more rotation. Some annual games would have to go away, but there are some other great games that will come on the schedule. Auburn-Florida is a good example. We used to play every year.
“Our league has so many great brands, you’re going to pick up great games. I think it’s going to be more compelling. You probably get rid of the permanent (opponents). I’m in favor of having the conversation. I don’t know what my colleagues think.
“I’m sensitive to the tradition piece, but we have to do what’s best for the whole league and I don’t think we can walk on eggshells around one or two games. You think about players who are here four or five years and never see some teams.”
That’s something many people around the league are calling for, especially when you consider the 2019 game between Georgia and Texas A&M in Athens will be the first meeting of those programs since the Aggies joined the SEC. The Bulldogs have yet to travel to College Station and are not scheduled to do so for several years.
You can read The Gainesville Sun’s full interview with Stricklin here.