It’s obvious why Steve Spurrier wants to change the way division champions are determined in the SEC: Last year his team won all its games against teams from the East but lost a couple to the West, which allowed Georgia, which lost to South Carolina but beat all its Western opponents, to take the Eastern division.
Generally, South Carolina under Spurrier fares better against its Eastern Division brethren than it does against teams from the SEC West. So Spurrier only wants to count games against the East in determining the division winner.
For some strange reason, LSU’s Les Miles supports that view, saying, “I’m for the Western Division deciding the Western Division champion and the Eastern Division deciding the Eastern Division champion.” Apparently it comes down to the fact that Miles doesn’t like the fact that LSU plays Florida every year while Alabama plays Tennessee. Or something like that. It’s hard to tell with the Hat.
Georgia’s Mark Richt thinks Spurrier’s plan is self-serving and silly, though he’s too much of a gentleman to come right out and say that. He’s pointed out that as the world turns, so does the SEC schedule, and what favors Spurrier and South Carolina this season might not work in their favor in the future. But just tell him the rules up front, Richt says, and he’ll play by them — the implication being that Spurrier should shut up and do the same.
Other SEC coaches, including Florida’s Will Muschamp, are against Spurrier’s plan. As Muschamp says, “An SEC game should count as an SEC game.”
Alabama’s Nick Saban puts it more forthrightly. “You’re going to sort of minimize the importance of cross-divisional games if you say they don’t’ count toward the championship,” Saban said. “Then we’re really not the SEC. Then we’re just an East and a West, so why would we play the games?”
It makes for interesting discussion, but, of course, Spurrier’s plan isn’t likely to come to fruition as long as SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has this point of view: “It’s hard for me to think about a conference game that doesn’t count.”
What this really amounts to is Spurrier’s annual bid to make himself the center of discussion at the conference confab. Last year, it was his stood-no-chance plan for coaches to pay players out of their own pockets. This year, it’s his problem with the way the division champ is determined. (Funny, he never had a problem with the same system during all those years he was at Florida.)
Next year, assuming he hasn’t retired by then, it’ll no doubt be something else.
The bottom line is that Spurrier is like a 5-year-old, constantly crying out for attention. “Look at me! Look at what I’m doing!”
It’s kind of pathetic, really.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg