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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Time to Revamp the SEC Football Schedule?

Should we keep that AMAZING rivalry with Mississippi State?

With the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri the SEC schedulers did their best to keep a reasonable schedule in place.  They continued scheduling each team to play each division opponent once, 3 at home and 3 on the road, keep their cross-division rival, and then play one another cross-division team once, splitting those last 2 games home and road.  I think they did a good job with the basic setup of the schedule.  In fact, the word “balanced” is used several times in press releases about the schedule.

The problem though with this idea of “balanced” scheduling is it far too often leads to unfair scheduling as well.  It seems you would want as fair a schedule as possible to control what you can control most.

While the SEC would call their schedule “balanced” for the fact that each team will play every cross-division opponent over the course of 5-6 years, I would argue this is a dumb way to schedule these games.  Why?  Because you are forcing some teams to play a more difficult conference schedule than others.  And the conference schedule is something teams can’t control.  If South Carolina wants to keep Clemson or North Carolina on the schedule, that is their choice.  But they have no choice on which SEC West teams they play every year.

Why, over the course of 5-6 years, does every SEC East school HAVE to play every SEC West school?  Just for the sake of it looking and feeling good?  Why does each school have to have a PERMANENT cross-division rival?  How many of those permanent games are actually “rivalries”?  Kentucky-Mississippi State certainly isn’t.   Texas A&M-Missouri?  Don’t think so.  Ole Miss-Vanderbilt?  Laughable.  The only cross-division rivalry that is seen as an actual RIVALRY by the schools is Alabama-Tennessee, and that is still not their primary rivalry.  Florida-LSU is always a nice matchup, but those schools are not rivals.  So why do we do it?  It is all nice and fairy tale-like, but it also doesn’t provide the most fair barometer of determining the champions of both divisions.  And in the end, isn’t that what we would like to see.  So, here is my suggestion:


By then, SEC officials have a pretty good idea of which teams are going to be the best and which teams are going to be the worst.  Could it turn out they were wrong?  Of course.  Nothing is guaranteed.  But it’s certainly better than the current schedule, which had Alabama playing Tennessee and Kentucky 5 years ago.  We knew UK and Alabama would be playing in 2013 before any of the current players were on campus.  Where is the intelligence in that?

I would set the dates of the games well in advance, years if necessary, so the school’s know which date they will have a home game and which they will have a road game.  But, they will not know the opponent until June 1 or July 1.  Schools still have the ability to plan, fans still have the ability to book hotels and plane tickets well in advance, and the schedule becomes more fair on a yearly basis.

So, what do you think?  Are you happy with the SEC schedule, especially in the cross-division games?  Are would you like to see more flexibility in the games and the elimination of the permanent rivals?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

7 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Time to Revamp the SEC Football Schedule?

  1. Bryson
    9:13 am June 8, 2015 Permalink

    I think this is a good idea to wait until the summer before scheduling the East-West matchups. I read the following, “The only cross-division rivalry that is seen as an actual RIVALRY by the schools is Alabama-Tennessee”

    Auburn VS Georgia is a huge East-West permament rivalry in addition to Alabama-Tennessee. I think it would be hard to do away with these rivalries.

  2. NotSatire
    9:23 am June 8, 2015 Permalink

    Since we cannot play every cross-division team, why not just draw them? Inject a little suspense into the process.

  3. CatsBy80
    9:23 am June 8, 2015 Permalink

    I think there is a lot more that goes into scheduling than you think… It would be VERY difficult to have these dates coordinate if teams are waiting until mid-summer to schedule these final games… Every SEC team has to play out-of-conference opponents, and those OOC opponents couldn’t care less about the intra-SEC scheduling conflicts. They want their schedules set in advance.

    All in all, I think it is a good concept… But, I think the logistics behind it would be mind-numbing and a hell of a headache for schedulers.

  4. Devin
    11:06 am June 8, 2015 Permalink

    Auburn vs Georgia is a rivalry. Live down here in the deep south and it’s huge for both fan bases.

  5. BiggestCatsFanInOhio
    12:12 pm June 8, 2015 Permalink

    This wouldn’t work for scheduling home vs away games. If you set the seven teams playing at home and the 7 teams playing on the road in advance, then when it comes time to draw the match-ups each team only has 7 potential opponents instead of the other 13. If you wanted to go 1 vs 2, but the top 3 teams that year happened to all be home, you’d have to make the 1 play the 4, then the 2 play someone else lower, and you’ve eliminated the point of waiting until the summer before to make even match-ups.

    Each school would have to agree to set the date but not know if they played home or away until the summer selection. Because the seeding and match-ups would change every year, you may have teams play at home several years in a row and teams play on the road several consecutive years. Eliminating a home game for several years in a row would cost that school a lot of money. I don;t see this ever happening.

  6. Big Blue Earl
    3:20 pm June 8, 2015 Permalink

    I think the PERMANENT cross over rivals are fine as they are. Auburn & Georgia have one of the oldest rivalries in all of football and Alabama & Tennessee are determined to play on the third weekend of October every year no matter how much of a mismatch it has become. You are forgetting the Vandy & Ole Miss have played every year since 1970 and have one of the longest played series in the entire SEC. As for UK, we have to start building a rivalry somewhere and this season will mark the 25th straight season that we have faced off with the Bulldogs. UK has faced MSU every year since 1990 which is longer than current EAST foe So. Carolina, which we didn’t start playing until 1992. The only schools that bicker about it every season are Florida & LSU because they are both strong brands that don’t want to face the extra tough game every season. I think the new Arkansas & Missouri rivalry and South Carolina & Texas A&M game are good match-ups between equally competitive programs. This whole argument will go out the window in a few more years when the SEC goes to 9 games, which they will do in time.

  7. Kam
    4:14 pm June 8, 2015 Permalink

    1) Auburn v UGA is a huge rivalry, though, to your point, it’s not the primary rivalry for those schools.
    2) This entire suggestion isn’t very well thought out. I don’t think the point has to do with the teams so much as the players and the conference. I thought the idea of it years ago was that every player would get to play in every stadium over the course of four years.

    They are trying to keep it as close to that as possible by rotating it. Then, the fans want to see certain teams/programs come. There are a lot of Alabama fans in Kentucky (oddly enough, though the teams are something of kindred spirits) and people like to see the Tide in Commonwealth every once in a while. Same thing goes for Auburn with the vet students.

    Also, how can the SEC be a cohesive unit if the teams don’t play at least semi-regularly?

    Also, the logistical issue mentioned before. Fans order tickets years in advance and especially at schools where football is king, hotel reservations fill up years in advance for these games.

    Overall, this idea would maybe work at some place like Kentucky, where we aren’t really that concerned about football but it wouldn’t work in the conference at large. Those big boys like having a few easier games with that beast of an SEC that they’re actually trying to win.