SEC needs more games against Pac-12 -- in regular season and in bowls
Texas A&M beat Arizona State 38-17 on the opening weekend of the 2015 season in Houston.
That was the only game of the season pitting an SEC team against a Pac-12 team.
There were no other games between the conferences during the season. And none of the SEC’s 10 bowl games involved a team from the Pac-12.
It wasn’t for lack of opportunity. Fourteen SEC teams play four non-conference games apiece. That’s 48 opportunities, minus a few traditional rivalry games. The dozen Pac-12 teams play three non-conference games each.
Unless elite teams from each conference meet in the College Football Playoff, the SEC and Pac-12 play in different worlds. How many SEC fans knew how good Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey was prior to the Rose Bowl?
The good news: next season will open with two SEC vs. Pac-12 games, including a marquee matchup of Alabama vs. Southern Cal in Arlington, Texas. UCLA will play at Texas A&M in the other matchup.
Through 2027, 21 games are scheduled between the conferences, though games scheduled far in advance often are canceled or bought out for financial and competitive reasons. Neutral site games are great, but home-and-home series would be better.
SEC fans would love to see Southern Cal and Oregon come to the Southeast on a regular basis. Pac-12 teams, which have more difficulty filling their stadiums, would welcome Alabama and other traditional SEC powerhouses.
“Those are positive opportunities for both conferences,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told cbssports.com prior to this season. “One could observe it’s an outgrowth of the (SEC) expectation of that ninth game being against a school from the other four or five (major) conferences. I think people are looking for quality competition.”
In a playoff era with a goal of identifying a true national champion, there need to be games between teams of the Power 5 Conferences. How can conferences and top teams be compared if they don’t play each other or share common opponents?
Granted, with the ACC and so many Group of 5 and FCS opponents close by, its easy and cheap for SEC teams to stay home in September. According to cbssports.com, Kentucky has NEVER played west of the Central Time Zone.
With each Power 5 conference trying to beef up its schedule, SEC and Pac-12 teams need to play at least three or four non-conference games each season.
And it should be easy to arrange a few bowl games between the conferences, possibly in SEC territory in Texas, Pac-12 territory or in between.
The SEC plays every other conference, though not enough.
The SEC racked up a 3-1 record against the Big Ten in bowl games. Plus, Alabama beat Wisconsin in a season opener.
The SEC was 3-0 against the Big 12 in the bowls. During the season, Arkansas lost to Texas Tech and Tennessee lost to Oklahoma.
The SEC is 1-1 in bowl play against the ACC entering the rubber game for the national title. But the two conferences play annual in-state rivalry games in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina. In other games this season, South Carolina beat North Carolina and Auburn beat Louisville. So the conferences are tied 3-3.
Bring on the Pac-12.