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Old 04-28-2014, 10:08 AM   #1
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SEC Scheduling

They preserved a lot of historical rivalries, and I like the idea of mandating stronger non-conference scheduling. I'd be a little upset if I were LSU's AD after seeing the difference between their and Alabama's in-conference games.

SEC to keep traditional non-divisional rivalries, tweaks future scheduling - ESPN

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The SEC chose not to stray too far from tradition as it announced Sunday night that longstanding non-divisional rivalries would remain a fixture of the league's eight-game conference schedule.

However, in a twist focused on improving strength of schedule, the SEC will begin mandating that each program incorporate an annual nonconference game against a power conference starting in 2016.

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The SEC on Sunday voted to keep its eight-game conference schedule. One of the non-division opponents will be a permanent annual rivalry game, meaning the following matchups will stay intact:

Alabama-Tennessee
Auburn -Georgia
Arkansas-Missouri
LSU-Florida
Ole Miss-Vanderbilt
Mississippi State-Kentucky
Texas A&M-South Carolina
Historical rivalries such as Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia survived the chopping block as the SEC voted to keep the eight-game conference schedule that will include six games against division opponents and two games against non-division opponents.

One of the non-division opponents will be a permanent annual rivalry game. Others include: Arkansas-Missouri, LSU-Florida, Ole Miss-Vanderbilt, Mississippi State-Kentucky and Texas A&M-South Carolina.

LSU athletic director Joe Alleva isn't a fan of the permanent rivalry game and had pushed for a two-team rotation.

"I'm disappointed in the fact that the leadership of our conference doesn't understand the competitive advantage permanent partners give to certain institutions," Alleva told the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Sunday. "I tried to bring that up very strongly at the meeting today. In our league we share the money and expenses equally but we don't share our opponents equally.

"Since 2000 LSU has played Florida and Georgia 19 times and Alabama has played them eight times. That is a competitive disadvantage. There are a lot of other examples."


Starting in 2016, each school will have to play at least one opponent from either the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive said that, beginning in 2016, all schools will be mandated to play one opponent per season from either the Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten or ACC.
"This has been a thoughtful and deliberative process that has resulted in maintaining the current format and adds a provision that will bolster our collective annual non-conference schedule," commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement. "Critical to maintaining this format is the non-conference opponent factor which gives us the added strength-of-schedule we were seeking while allowing continued scheduling flexibility for institutional preferences, and acknowledges that many of our institutions already play these opponents."

Slive, of course, was referring to previously established rivalries like Florida-Florida State, South Carolina-Clemson, Georgia-Georgia Tech and Kentucky-Louisville.

"The concept of strength-of-schedule is based on an entire 12-game schedule, a combination of both conference games together with non-conference games," Slive said. "Given the strength of our conference schedule supplemented by at least one major non-conference game, our teams will boast of a strong resume of opponents each and every year."

The majority of SEC programs are already compliant with the upcoming mandatory nonconference scheduling. Only four teams -- Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M -- won't play a game this coming season against an opponent from one of those four power conferences.

The SEC chose not to move forward with a nine-game conference schedule, which had been discussed but lacked sufficient backing.

Alabama coach Nick Saban seemed to be one of the few vocal proponents of the nine-game format.

"I think there's a little bit more support for staying with an eight-game schedule and everybody playing a ninth opponent that's in the five major conferences," Saban told reporters in Huntsville, Ala., last week. "My thing is I'm for playing nine conference games and still playing another team in the major conferences, so you play 10 games because of fan interest, people coming to games looking forward to seeing more good games."
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Old 04-28-2014, 10:25 AM   #2
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I agree with the LSU AD. Alabama has somehow miraculously avoided playing the schedule that other's play. I am fine with them playing the 8 game conference + 1 other big conference game (as long as it is a quality team).
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Old 04-28-2014, 10:39 AM   #3
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Will Georgia be able to count that possible ND game as the non conference?

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Old 04-28-2014, 10:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
"My thing is I'm for playing nine conference games and still playing another team in the major conferences, so you play 10 games because of fan interest, people coming to games looking forward to seeing more good games."
I felt this was the most telling quote from Saban and the article. Saban essentially acknowledging that they play a couple **** games with no real chance of losing.
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Old 04-28-2014, 10:49 AM   #5
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To be fair to Bama, they can't control whether their traditional rival is any good. They have an East team locked up every year in Tennessee and it's not their fault if Tennessee sucks, just like it's not our fault if USC or Stanford has a really bad year.
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Old 04-28-2014, 01:09 PM   #6
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I understand LSU's point, but they weren't complaining about playing UF every year when the Gators were down, nor Bama playing UT every year when the Vols were beating us regularly. These things go in cycles. Right now the Gators are a tough out and the Vols are our whipping boy. Hasn't always been that way in the past and won't be that way forever in the future.

I'm with Saban on going to a 9 game conference schedule and eliminating one of the cupcakes. I like the 6-1-2 format instead of the 6-1-1 format, which takes too long to rotate every team from the other division onto your schedule.
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
The SEC will enforce a new scheduling policy requiring all SEC members to schedule at least one game against a school from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12. The new policy also locks in cross-division games that will be played annually. LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva has already sounded off against the new policy, and head coach Les Miles is joining him in unison.

“We play the toughest schedule in America in our conference, and then we have the bias of the permanent partner,” Miles told The Advocate on Monday. LSU is paired with Florida in the conference’s locked cross-division match-ups. It is the protected crossover games that was a point of contention for Alleva as well.

LSU has played either Florida or Georgia in crossover games 19 times since 2000. Alabama has played those two SEC East powers just nine times in regular season play over that same span. This is one of the problems with an eight-game conference schedule for a 14-member conference. But Miles took aim at the non-conference scheduling portion of the new policy, one that seems to be of little concern for LSU.

“We’re now also being mandated to take a BCS team,” Miles said. “The bias of the schedule continues to be disproportionate. Fundamentally fair is not something they’ve given great thought to.”

Miles may have forgotten LSU is already scheduled to play at least one school from a BCS AQ conference through 2024, with the exception of 2018 and 2019 for the time being. Those games were scheduled before the SEC put together the new scheduling policy, but it certainly looks as though scheduling non-conference games the way LSU will now be required to do is no problem for Miles and the Tigers. So that seems like an empty punch from Miles.

Take a look at the games LSU has scheduled against teams from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12…

2014: Wisconsin (in Houston, Texas)

2015: at Syracuse

2016: Wisconsin (in Green Bay, Wisconsin)

2017: Syracuse, NC State (maybe)

2020: NC State, Penn State (maybe)

2021: at UCLA

2022: at Arizona State

2023: Arizona State

2024: UCLA

There is a home-and-home agreement with Oklahoma that still needs to find dates that work for both schools. Ideally for LSU, inserting the games in the 2018 and 2019 seasons would seem to be the best fit. Doing so would satisfy the scheduling requirement for the only years in non-conference play not yet scheduled in full. The problem is Oklahoma already has started setting non-conference games for those seasons with two games against UCLA and one against Army already booked.
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