Seemingly every offseason, Southeastern Conference fans debate whether the nation’s toughest conference should amend its scheduling format.
Some of the quirks in the schedule make no sense, such as Georgia and Texas A&M meeting for the first time in 2019 as conference foes despite the fact the Aggies joined the league back in 2012. At various times, fans around the league have also complained that the current format is unfair due to the permanent-division rivalries. Not only does LSU have to beat Alabama in the West, but it has to survive Florida in the East. The same thing could be said for Auburn, which plays Georgia annually.
While the debate will likely rage on, one powerbroker in the SEC believes the league should continue to do what’s best for the conference — even if it makes little sense for his school.
During a recent appearance on the “Paul Finebaum Show,” South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner was asked about any potential changes coming to the league’s current scheduling format with the SEC spring meetings set to take place in the coming weeks.
“Well, you live this on a daily basis, we certainly think about it in the AD’s room from time to time and we just met last week… there’s a lot of different philosophies about how we should schedule and I reminded my colleagues that this is an SEC meeting — this is not a meeting of your program or school,” Tanner said on the show. “And you look at our history and the success that we’ve had and who gets to play at the end of the year, it’s normally a Southeastern Conference team that’s in the CFP and two on an occasion. So, I don’t think you can discount what we are doing and how we are doing it.
“Are there other ways to do it and there’s talk of playing everyone or on a rotation — Texas A&M is our common opponent in the West. I’m not sure they view us as a great rivalry and we don’t view them the same way, but you have to go back to this is the Southeastern Conference. What’s working? Is it good for us? Are we ending up at the right place at the end of the year? And arguably, we are, so I don’t think you can discount that.”
Tanner makes a great point there and it’s an even stronger argument considering he acknowledges that South Carolina’s annual permanent cross-divisional opponent makes little sense for his school or Texas A&M. If he’s willing to keep things the same for the good of the league, there’s no doubt some of his fellow ADs must feel the same.