Let me preface this by saying that I actually like Steve Spurrier. He is a great coach, he changed the SEC with what he accomplished at Florida and he doesn’t cheat (although “suspending” former quarterback Stephen Garcia five times without forcing him to actually miss a game certainly set new standards for enabling and being disingenuous).
But Spurrier’s latest idea is beyond looney.
The South Carolina coach is about to make a wonderful self-serving proposal. He believes the SEC’s division champions — the participants in the conference championship game — should be determined not by the teams’ conference records but by just results within the division.
I’m sure the fact that the Gamecocks will play SEC West teams LSU and Arkansas in 2012 while Georgia plays only Auburn and Mississippi has nothing to do with this brainstorm.
It’s shocking, really, that Spurrier didn’t come up with this idea in 2008, when Georgia played Alabama and South Carolina played Mississippi.
Wait a minute . . .
Spurrier apparently will make this pitch at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, according to SI.com. He spun this as only getting the idea after taking pity on Tennessee and Florida last year.
“Last year, it wasn’t fair for Tennessee and Florida,” he told SI.com. “They both played LSU and Alabama. Us and Georgia didn’t. So, us or Georgia almost had to win the division simply because of the schedule.”
It’s not a completely baseless argument. Every SEC team doesn’t play each other. Therefore, there are going to be inequities every year.
The problem is that no other sport at any other level determines division standings by division-only results. (Division records comes into play in tiebreaker scenarios.) Further, even if such a rule was adopted, it wouldn’t prevent other inequities. For example, how do you weigh the fact that Georgia’s first SEC game in 2012 is at Missouri and is the Tigers’ first conference game (which will be kind of hyped), while South Carolina gets Missouri two weeks later at home (and following games against East Carolina and Alabama-Birmingham).
Also, I suspect that if a scheduling glitch after conference expansion hadn’t knocked Alabama off of Georgia’s schedule, Spurrier might not be making this pitch. Just saying.
By Jeff Schultz