Paul Finebaum gives SEC incomplete grade for spring meetings: 'It was a rough week for the SEC perceptively'
Paul Finebaum was down in Destin this week for the SEC spring meetings. On Friday, he shared his insights on the decisions from the week with ESPN’s Matt Barrie on SportsCenter.
Most notably, Finebaum weighed in on the SEC’s decision to maintain the 8-game conference schedule in 2024. Greg Sankey also announced the league will remove divisions when Texas and Oklahoma join the SEC and send the top 2 teams in the conference to the SEC Championship Game.
At the end of the day, Finebaum gave the SEC an incomplete grade and explained he expects the league to eventually adopt a 9-game schedule down the road:
“Matt, you were a good student and you didn’t get what I’m about to give this league,” said Finebaum. “I got all kinds of incompletes, and the professor would say ‘Hey do some better work and I’ll see if I can pass you.’ It was a rough week for the SEC perceptively. But Matt, don’t jump to too many conclusions because I think next year the SEC will move the can down the road and go to 9 (games).”
Finebaum also indicated the SEC was prepared to make the move to a 9-game slate this week before experiencing some resistance to the idea. Most notably, Finebaum pointed to a change of heart on the 9-game model from Alabama head coach Nick Saban:
“They were prepared to (go to 9 games) and there was all kinds of resistance and surprisingly from the most influential person in the league and that’s Nick Saban,” Finebaum explained. “Nick Saban has been campaigning for 9 games for 13 years. What happened when he found out Alabama was supposed to see as its permanent opponents Auburn, LSU and Tennessee? He suddenly didn’t like it.”
For what it’s worth, while Finebaum did describe it as a poor week for the perception of the SEC, he also explained the leaders within the league did not express any concern for the outside perception. After all, the SEC has dominated the national championship picture in the BCS and CFP eras, and there is little evidence that will change in the immediate future.
Here’s Finebaum’s full comments from Friday: