SDS Mailbag: Renaming the College Football Playoff, SEC coach hot seat, major realignment talk
July is supposed to be a quiet month in college sports. No games are on the schedule. It’s a dead period.
Well, not this year. Once again, there has been a huge news story breaking during the summer that will now dominate headlines for the next few months.
USC and UCLA are reportedly in talks to move to the Big Ten. That would obviously be a seismic shift, and one that could lead both the Big Ten and SEC to continue expanding toward 20 teams or more.
So, it appears we have our big summer story to talk about in the weeks leading up to Media Days. Indeed, we’ll dive into potential realignment in a couple of today’s Mailbag questions.
Thus, without further ado, let’s get started!
I read in Drew Magary’s weekly column on Defector a question where he was asked what he’d rename the generic “NBA Finals.” Since other sports have “Super Bowl,” “Stanley Cup,” “World Series,” etc., what would you rename the College Football Playoff to make it less generic? Heck, even college basketball calls the NCAA Tournament “March Madness” instead.
I posed this question to my former college roommates, and some interesting answers were thrown around. First, we all agreed that “Duke’s Mayo Bowl” would be a great name for the title game, but then continued discussing possibilities anyway.
Ideas ranged from “Li’l Super Bowl” to “January Jamboree,” but neither of those have the necessary gravity for such a big game. I suggested just making “The Rose Bowl” the permanent title game, as that’s an iconic brand for college football.
Ultimately, though, I think the best option we came up with was simply “The Playoff.” There’s probably a better option out there, so let me know your ideas in the comments!
My former roommates and I did agree, however, that the trophy would likely be named after Nick Saban in the near future. We’ll see!
Is it possible that all 14 SEC head coaches make it through 2022 and return for the 2023 season at their same schools?
Online sports betting has come or is coming to many southern states. Residents of states where legalized sports betting exists can bet on things like the Heisman race, SEC football games each week and more... all right from their mobile device.
Well, it certainly is possible. But likely? I’ve learned my lesson predicting stability in the SEC, where it seems something crazy happens every year.
But, there’s as good of a chance at stability this year as there has been in recent memory. Eli Drinkwitz, Lane Kiffin, Sam Pittman, Shane Beamer, Mike Leach, Clark Lea, Billy Napier, Josh Heupel, Brian Kelly and Bryan Harsin have all been hired since the end of the 2019 season. That’s 10 of the 14 SEC coaches!
Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, Jimbo Fisher and Mark Stoops are the other 4 coaches, and they’re on pretty stable footing (even if there is a bit of frustration mounting with Fisher in College Station). So, it is definitely possible that all 14 of those guys will return for 2023.
If I had to predict a “hottest seat,” I’d say Harsin, just because of the situation that unfolded earlier this offseason and the booster issue at Auburn. But, that seems to be smoothed out (for now).
The other option is that someone will leave for a different job. I’m not predicting it would happen, but Drinkwitz and Kiffin are certainly possibilities there.
I’m sure I’ll be wrong, but as of right now, what the heck – I’ll predict all 14 SEC head coaches return to their same schools in 2023. Now, buckle up and enjoy an unforeseen train wreck that renders this prediction all sorts of wrong!
If the SEC adds 4 more teams to get to 20, as has been reported is a possibility, what 4 schools would you like to see join the conference?
I posed this question on Twitter, and it was pretty much an even split in terms of which of these groups would be preferable for the league:
Which 4-team group would you rather have join the SEC?
– Va Tech
— Adam Spencer (@AdamSpencer4) June 30, 2022
Bigger basketball fans seem to prefer package 2 with North Carolina and Duke. Diehard football folks seem to prefer adding the 2 Florida schools and Virginia Tech.
It has long been said that South Carolina wouldn’t let Clemson join the SEC and Florida would block FSU and Miami from joining the league. But, that’s an old way of thinking that simply doesn’t hold up anymore.
Precedent has officially been set now that Texas was allowed to join, despite the SEC already having a footprint in the Lone Star State with Texas A&M. If commissioner Greg Sankey wants Clemson and the Florida schools to join the league and thinks it’s the best move for the future of the SEC, the Gamecocks and Gators will just have to deal with it and continue to cash their historically large checks from the conference.
If I had to pick one of those groups above, I’d probably go with No. 2. But, I am a big-time basketball fan, so that aligns with what the general response to my question has been.
With the report that USC and UCLA are potentially leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, what random matchups are you most excited for if it does actually happen?
Growing up in Illinois, I’m excited for the Illini to have a chance to avenge their 2008 Rose Bowl loss against the Trojans. That was a 49-17 beatdown by the Trojans, and the game wasn’t even that close.
There are a great deal of random matchups that could be great, though. USC vs. Penn State is the “James Franklin Bowl.” USC and UCLA vs. Rutgers and Maryland are about as random as it gets.
Of course, there are the good games – UCLA vs. Michigan, USC at Ohio State, Trojans in Camp Randall, Bruins take on the Huskers. But, the random matchups are why college football is fun.
Are the Spartans or Trojans the better ancient warriors? USC vs. Michigan State will settle that score (the Scarlet Knights might want a say in that, too). Bears or Lions? Well, Penn State and UCLA will settle that animal kingdom debate.
I can’t wait for all the randomness this next round of realignment is going to bring! I need a Washington-Boston College rivalry game to become a thing for some reason.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.