10 ‘good’ games ought to be SEC football’s goal

SEC Football logoAmid the continuing discussion of a strength-of-schedule factor in selecting the four teams for the new College Football Playoff, the move toward a nine-game SEC schedule appears to have widened into a call for the conference’s teams to upgrade their nonconference opponents as well.

Already, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has made a move in basketball, getting the schools to agree to send their nonconference schedules to the league office for evaluation and possible tweaking in an effort to get more conference teams into the NCAA tournament.

According to the Sporting News, Slive has similar concerns about the proliferation of “cupcake” games on SEC teams’ nonconference football schedules.

“I made it very clear,” Slive said. “I don’t want us playing four games that mean less.”

So whether the SEC goes to eight or nine conference games, the commissioner wants members playing more teams from major, BCS-level conferences and fewer opponents that do nothing more than guarantee a home game and a victory.

The main impetus behind the capitulation of college presidents in agreeing to a playoff was a widespread horror over the all-SEC national championship game a couple of years ago. The feeling among many college football observers is that the playoff selection committee still to be named is going to take every opportunity it can to limit the conference to just one team. And the relative lack of strength in nonconference schedules is the biggest chink in the SEC’s armor.

Nick Saban has been the chief advocate of a nine-game SEC schedule. (Associated Press)

Nick Saban has been the chief advocate of a nine-game SEC schedule. (Associated Press)

Actually, if the SEC does move to pressure members to play more major nonconference opponents, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky will have a leg up on the competition in that they already play BCS-level in-state rivals each year. So they’d only have to replace one cupcake, instead of two, to be playing 10 strong opponents each year, as advocated by Alabama’s Nick Saban, who appears to be acting as Slive’s stalking horse on the matter.

Whether the SEC goes to nine conference games or stays at eight, Saban’s athletic director, Bill Battle, told ESPN, “What I think is that we really need to play at least 10 good games … because our fans are going to get tired” of lesser opponents.

It’s a valid point, and UGA President Michael Adams raised the same issue recently about fans rebelling over paying for home games against teams they don’t really want to see. “The fans don’t like the games against some of the competition that we play, and I don’t blame them,” he told the Macon Telegraph.

The concern is that more fans will stay away and watch better games in the comfort of their own home on a large-screen HD television rather than shell out for the cupcake games, or instead of buying a season ticket will cherry-pick the best home games via the secondary ticket market outlets like StubHub.

CBSSports.com noted recently that while the SEC led attendance nationally last season for the 15th consecutive year, the average attendance figure for the conference actually has dropped each of the past four seasons.

“It’s a real issue,” Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley told CBS. “A confluence of things is coming together and the world has changed. We have to change with it.”

So between worries about a perceived weakness in nonconference scheduling keeping SEC teams out of the playoff, the new ESPN-run SEC Network wanting more quality games for programming, and dwindling attendance at cupcake games, the likelihood of a conference scheduling revamp seems inevitable, whether it’s eight or nine conference games.

Mark Richt's main schedule concern is keeping the Georgia-Auburn rivalry. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt's main schedule concern is keeping the Georgia-Auburn rivalry. (Associated Press)

From a Bulldog fan’s point of view, I’m with Mark Richt in feeling that UGA’s No. 1 scheduling priority should be making sure the Georgia-Auburn rivalry, the South’s oldest, is maintained. If Les Miles’ whining about the disparity in permanent cross-divisional rivals begins to get any traction, that might push Georgia into supporting a nine-game conference schedule, which would make it easier to maintain the permanent rivalries.

“The one thing I will say I would vote on is to continue to have a rivalry game with Auburn,” Richt told the Macon Telegraph recently. “Does that involve an eight-game, a nine-game? I don’t know. If [the Auburn game] goes away, then does an eight-game change in my mind compared to nine? I think one of the keys to this whole thing is whether the rivalry games stand. That can change how people think about the big picture.”

Beyond that, though, while I love watching the Dogs Between the Hedges no matter who they’re playing, I have to admit I’d like fewer Florida Atlantics on the schedule.

However, Georgia’s Greg McGarity already is on record as saying that if the SEC goes to nine conference games, that might mean that Georgia, which also has Georgia Tech on the schedule every year, might be less inclined to play another major nonconference opponent like Clemson. I’m hoping Slive’s push for upgrading the nonconference schedules as the College Football Playoff approaches will make McGarity think twice about that.

I think Alabama’s Battle is right. SEC teams need to be playing 10 “good” games each season.

As Saban said this week in pushing his case for nine conference games, “The biggest thing I think we need to do in some of these decisions … is [ask], ‘What about the fans?’ Because one of these days they’re going to quit coming to the games. They’re going to stay home and watch on TV, and everybody’s going to say, ‘Why aren’t you coming to the games?’ ‘Well, if you played somebody good, we’d come to the game. That should be the first consideration. Nobody’s considering them.”

If they want the fans to continue to shell out for season tickets, that needs to change.

Got something you want to discuss concerning the upcoming football season or UGA athletics? Or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Email me at  junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

68 comments Add your comment

Dawgs Run This State

May 31st, 2013
9:31 am

10 good games would be nice – furthering the argument that the Dawgs should drop tech as the wreck is no longer competitive in college football.

Bill King

May 31st, 2013
9:44 am

Dawgs Run This State:

That’s not going to happen. UGA’s leaders have made it clear that Tech will remain on the schedule. And that’s how it should be.

ARdawg

May 31st, 2013
10:00 am

Bill
Why not 12 tough competitive games? Coaches have since the beginning of the game always scheduled a few cupcakes for a tune up or competitive edge. I’ve always disagreed with it but, I’m not a coach. I won’t spend my money on those nor do I even bother to watch them on TV. JMHO

SBC Pastor

May 31st, 2013
10:11 am

What would happen if we expanded westward again, adding two more teams to the Western Division, then move Alabama and Auburn into the Eastern Conference? That would give us the ability to add more SEC games to the schedule and maintain the UA/UT and UGA/AU rivalries (which seem to be the only ones that everyone is all that concerned about).

Bulldawg35

May 31st, 2013
10:14 am

I will be giving up my season tickets to my best friend!! I have other things to focus on than a team that doesn’t care about winning! Year after year to many suspensions!! JHC has really hurt this team to start this year…Richt may suspend him for the SC gae to…you never know with Richt. Plus we just lost two players to Clemson….that’s just sad now that we are being out recruited by auburn…..Bama and Clemson.

WDE

May 31st, 2013
10:29 am

I agree we should move to a 10 “good” game schedule that would be 8 more “good” games than OSU plays a year…..yet they are the media darlings…talk about SEC envy !

msouther

May 31st, 2013
10:38 am

why should the sec play 10 good games a year? no other conference does.

GTBob

May 31st, 2013
11:57 am

why should the sec play 10 good games a year? no other conference does.

Every conference should. Actually, every conference should play 12 good games a year.

GTBob

May 31st, 2013
11:59 am

10 good games would be nice – furthering the argument that the Dawgs should drop tech

I would suggest writing McGarity about this. I have written Bobinski a couple of times and also wrote DRad about it. Over time I think we will eventually be able to end this pointless series. Eventually everyone will see that it isn’t beneficial to anyone involved anymore.

USC Jimi

May 31st, 2013
12:01 pm

At USC we are already playing 10 tough games. This year we are playing at Central Florida, North Carolina and Clemson. We have traditionaly scheduled a smaller in-state school to share the revenue. Why isn’t there more conversation about going to home and home with UF instead of playing eavery year in Jacksonville?

7576DAWG

May 31st, 2013
12:04 pm

Until we go to at least an 8 team playoff things are not going to get better. With a 4 team playoff the Committee is going to do everything in their power to limit a Conference to just 1 team whether a Conference deserves 2 of the spots or not.
Then things are not going to be any better with an 8 team playoff if the teams in the playoff doesn’t follow some format . What I mean by that is : If the SEC was to get 2 teams in the 4 team playoff or 3 or even 4 teams in an 8 team playoff every effort should be made to make sure the SEC teams DO NOT PLAY EACH OTHER. Most of the SEC teams would have already played each other one time so a rematch should be avoided unless it is for the Championship game. If that means an all SEC Championship game like we had in 2011 , then so be it.
Slive is going to have his hands full making sure the SEC isn’t screwed by the SEC envy people or by themseves. If the SEC go’s to an 9 game in Conference schedule Slive must realize that a team could end up with 3 or even 4 loses and be given a 24TH ranking in the polls or not even be ranked but the 3 teams they lost to are all in the top 8 teams. Meaning the SEC could have teams with more than 2 losses because of STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE but should not be penalize because of it.

GTBob

May 31st, 2013
12:31 pm

7576DAWG, I think you are off on that one. I think the SEC will have 2 teams in the 4 team playoff almost every year. Why? Because that is what ESPN wants. The anti SEC sentiment that supposedly exists hasn’t kept the SEC from having like 6 teams in the top 10, two teams in a championship game, and a team in the championship game every year. In other words, the anti SEC people you are afraid of, don’t exist. Don’t worry. The SEC will continue to get 24/7 media coverage and biased poll positioning. The new playoff isn’t going to change that.

Ringleader

May 31st, 2013
1:10 pm

The SEC should play a “round robin” schedule of 11 games, problem solved!

maconexpress

May 31st, 2013
1:38 pm

Why don’t the sec commissioner take away a cupcake opponent and replace it with a bcs opponent. Example:
2014
UGA vs Texas
Bama vs Oklahoma
LSU vs Oklahoma St
TXA vs West Virginia
SC vs TCU
Fla vs Texas Tech
Tenn vs Baylor
Ole M vs Iowa St
Van vs SMU
Mizzo vs Kansas St
Miss S vs Kansas
Kentu vs Houston
Auburn vs Minnesota
Ark vs Illinois

2015
UGA vs Stanford
Bama vs Oregon
LSU vs UCLA
TXA vs USC
SC vs Oregon State
Fla vs Washington State
Tenn vs Washington
Ole M vs Arizona State
Van vs California
Mizzo vs Arizona
Kentu vs Colorado
Miss S vs Utah
Aub vs Purdue
Ark vs Iowa

Keep rotating each bcs conference each year…..the SEC will play 2 cupcakes 2 bcs and 8 sec each year.

Granthams The Man!

May 31st, 2013
2:19 pm

Anybody else see the major conflict of interest that’s happening right before our eyes?

It’s no wonder why Alabama is the least penalized team in the SEC.

It’s no wonder why Quinton Dial was not suspended for his dirty and illegal hit on Murray.

Why should SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, who’s the most powerful man in all of College football, need to ask a football coach to carry his water on scheduling?

Should we just sit back and act as if this is right and just?

Slive and Saban’s close relationship is not good for anybody except for Alabama. When they don’t even hide it any more, that just shows a total lack of respect for anybody else. This is not a good thing for the SEC.

What does the SEC have in common with Obama’s IRS?

UGA Insider

May 31st, 2013
2:26 pm

I was on an airplane sitting next to a Bama fan the other day and he insisted that Bama has NOT been called for an offensive holding penalty on the Oline in two years… Please someone tell me this isn’t true.

JB

May 31st, 2013
2:41 pm

I don’t think it’s true, but they get away with a lot of holding . I rewatched the SECCG on DVR and froze some line play….and boy, it’s obvious.

Max Sizemore

May 31st, 2013
2:43 pm

Playing a ninth or 10th conference game would be tougher on the SEC teams that it would be for other conferences simply because the SEC is a better conference. It is easier to go 11-1 in the Big 10 or PAC 12. Jeremy Foley, for one, understands this. He believes in cupcake scheduling if you’re going to win a national championship.

NCDawg

May 31st, 2013
2:45 pm

At some point the sacred cows will have to be slain. The 9 game SEC schedule was guaranteed after the last expansion. Texas and Texas A&M don’t play any more and they aren’t keeling over and wallowing around in self pity. I’ll pull for the Dawgs no matter what the schedule is. I think 10 SOLID games (good is too subject to interpretation) is a decent goal. I want to continue playing Tech just because no matter what anyone says they are still THE Rival. I’m sure they will get tired of getting killed and hire a real coach someday and we can have a decent game every few years.

I don’t see why you can’t just go to a 6-2-1 format. That would preserve the cross division rivalries and also allow everybody to play everybody every 4 years or so.

BrotherRicht

May 31st, 2013
2:56 pm

Still crying over the SEC Championship game huh? Grow the hell up. The game was in your back yard, and you still got whipped. So the ref’s looked the other way when calling holding penalties on Bama?.Hell you guys year in year out lead the league in penalties. You generally have a undisciplined team. That’s a BrotherRicht trademark. Boohoo…..
Also, Dial didn’t hit Murray hard enough.

DogMax

May 31st, 2013
2:56 pm

I will not go to any more of these blowout games against creampuffs and spend all that money. I’ll stay home and watch it on a 70 inch LED tv with a bunch of beer, bourbon, burgers and wings and watch a bunch of other good games. UGA needs to wise up and quit scheduling these low rent teams.

Dawg258

May 31st, 2013
3:08 pm

Playing Penn St. on probation doesnt count as a “good game” there Saban…. I wouldn’t consider VT coming off their worst year in a decade a “good game” either… especially when you put GSU and Chattanooga with them….
so Saban puts those 3 easy wins plus kentucky, Ark, Tenn, Miss St and Auburn and let me guess… Bama fan will say it’s a top 25 schedule?? lmao, talk about calling the kettle black.
This will be the second season in a row where bama will only have 2 teams in the top 25 at the end of the season.
How about step up and call him out on it? No wonder your in the hunt at the end of the season.

Dawg258

May 31st, 2013
3:09 pm

2 teams on the regular season schedule

TheBuckeye

May 31st, 2013
3:25 pm

bull dog 35,

The dog truth hurts, eh?

TheBuckeye

May 31st, 2013
3:26 pm

dog max,

Don’t eat too much. The Buckeyes are not on until Prime Time.

TheBuckeye

May 31st, 2013
3:27 pm

grantham is the man,

Man, quit your cryin’ and a humpin’.

Game over.

You lost.

TheBuckeye

May 31st, 2013
3:31 pm

dogs,

The Commish speaks:

Slive has similar concerns about the proliferation of “cupcake” games on SEC teams’ nonconference football schedules.

You own Commish is embarrassed at – get this dogs, the PROLIFERATION of “cupcake” games.

There is Alabama, LSU and Florida that have won the big one.

The rest of you are frauds.

TheBuckeye

May 31st, 2013
3:32 pm

Miss the Logo on this “old school” blog.

TheBuckeye

May 31st, 2013
3:33 pm

dog 258,

He managed to run 350 down your throat. Go ahead and “call him out”.

He won.

Whiskey Breath

May 31st, 2013
3:34 pm

Daw258, you’re not really that dumb are you? You are just playing us, aren’t you?
Penn St., Michigan and VT are 3 of the most successful teams in NCAA history.
They have the wins to prove it. Add to that Alabama’s Western division schedule,
and you have year in year out a brutal schedule. The western division was the toughest
division in football, now you add Texas A&M and it get’s worst.
I think you deserve a verbal slapping.

bucket

May 31st, 2013
3:43 pm

I guess Buckeye hasn’t checked out the OOC schedule for the Buckeyes this year.

TheBuckeye

May 31st, 2013
3:53 pm

bucket,

One non con year does not a non con schedule make.

Check past and future.

More top teams than the dogs have seen in their lurid history.

TheBuckeye

May 31st, 2013
3:55 pm

bucket,

Who was the last Top 5 or even Top 3 non con teams played in their non-con schedule?

Hell, you can’t even beat the Top 3 in your own conference.

Huh?

May 31st, 2013
4:35 pm

@Dawg258

Are you joking? I don’t think after UGAs easy schedule the last two years that you should complain about ANYBODY’S schedule. Also, games are scheduled several years in advance…before PennSt was on probation and before VT went through a down year…

Alabama has proven that they will play anybody anytime…I would say that Penn St, VT and Michigan is a much better non-conference slate than Boise St and Clemson. Wow

RealityWorld

May 31st, 2013
4:50 pm

Mark this down: Georgia wins the SEC east but gets another alabama beatdown–bama goes to the bcs
Ohio state with their easy schedule wins the big 10 and gets to the bcs title game

alabama beats ohio state by 13+—-meyer gets another beatdown from saban and fakes health problems again

TheBuckeye

May 31st, 2013
5:06 pm

reality world,

The spread will be 3. Bama favored.

We won’t give up 350 on the ground, promise you that.

Bama’s getting fat and happy. Entitled if you will.

Not a good thing.

On the other hand, dogs are just fat.

Munchies after smoking dope pack on the pounds.

C'mon Man

May 31st, 2013
5:24 pm

@ GT Bob – c’mon man….you can’t believe ESPN is reason why SEC finds itself the #1 conference? Couldn’t be success on the field, success in National Championship games, success in recruiting rankings or success in NFL Draft selections and in fan engagement and attendance. Bristol, CT has some sway but don’t delude yourself that they are all powerful.

@ TheBuckeye – c’mon man! Are you really talking up the buckeyes on an UGA / SEC thread? Man with a memory and conscience like that, you should be a high ranking politician in Wash DC!

If any Big 10 should have gotten the message that they are not up to SEC level of football, it should be buckeye nation. Now with coach of Michigan re-building that team (when he’s not away in 2nd role as NJ governor)… you had just hope your team can stay atop that team.

Sure, other con

DawgNole

May 31st, 2013
5:30 pm

TheBuckeye
May 31st, 2013
3:31 pm
dogs . . .
There is Alabama, LSU and Florida that have won the big one.
The rest of you are frauds.
___________________

Who won the big one in 2011? Hint: It was an SEC team.

C'mon Man

May 31st, 2013
5:31 pm

@ TheBuckeye – needed a 2nd helping of reply to your forgetful comments.
Speaking of forgetful why don’t you do something useful like replace your joke of a Univ president with someone a little more saavy and realistic…may Mr. Magoo is available and he has a much better wardrobe.

C'mon Man

May 31st, 2013
5:36 pm

@ Dawg258 – I’m hard the AL schedule apologist, but you are way off mark if you don’t think AL has more quality wins that GA.

Maybe you should be worried more about getting out state of SC this season without the beating you had last year. Yes, you beat FL in the “turnover palooza game” last year in JAX.

Can you name any other quality win that should make a GA fan proud?? Didn’t think so (no…GT, Ole Miss and a Cornhusker team that sux even more since joining TheBuckeye’s conference do NOT count as top tier quality wins and you know it.

Admit the moral victory in a tough loss vs AL in SEC championship game was impressive…still don’t kid yourself that GA resume last year should have had them anywhere near a shot at National Championship game, not if quality of schedule and wins is taken seriously.

DawgNole

May 31st, 2013
5:36 pm

This harder look at strength of schedule is LONG overdue. Literally buying victories over vastly inferior opponents should have no place in FBS football. It’s shameful that those responsible for this ongoing sham are only now beginning to acknowledge that it’s immoral, hypocritical, and unfair to the fans. There’ll be some resistance from cowards like McGarity. Hopefully that resistance can be crushed.

Wolverinemachine

May 31st, 2013
5:46 pm

Hey TheBuckeye,

you see your schedule lately? Wow, it’s filled with Buffalos, Aztecs and Bears (left coast variety not the monsters of midway….)

Plus you avoid the better programs that the Big 10 has…

With the overly-hyped rep OSU still has for some reason, no other team gets more mis-placed love from ESPN that the suckeyes.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

May 31st, 2013
6:01 pm

Ohio St and the Big 10

What a joke

Bucky-eye please don’t come on this blog talking about scheduling

Please tell us who in the Big Joke 10 does Ohio St play every year?????

Ohio St should be playing for the national championship at least 6 times out of every decade with the easy schedule they play

We all know what happens when they play real competition

Hey what happened the last time Ohio St played UGA

78 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS HAVE BEEN WON BY ONLY 2 TEAMS IN THE BIG JOKE10

That means you play one decent team every year

Ohio St is a

JOKE
JOKE
JOKE
JOKE

And the proof has been shown time and time again

Dawg-Gawn

May 31st, 2013
7:40 pm

The Ole Ball Coach not too happy today…. USCe’s cross conference permanent rival… none other than.. Texas A&M Univ. Poor little visor… Arky got Mizzou!

“BELIEVE” in the “G”

[...] word out of the SEC meetings was teams should aspire to 10 good games. That’s exactly what we should ask of all college teams in the mix for the new [...]

TheBuckeye

June 1st, 2013
5:11 am

dog in a hole,

You must be talking about Auburn and Cam, was enrolled for one semester, Newton.

your dogs haven’t won the big one since 1981.

Last century.

TheBuckeye

June 1st, 2013
5:12 am

This old school blog is stuck on Standard Time.

greg

June 1st, 2013
5:53 am

Shorten the regular season to ten “real” games with a 16 team playoff. Make the bowls bid for the playoff games. The money and fan interest would make March Madness look like peanuts.

docdog

June 1st, 2013
6:43 am

play 10 sec games and stop playing these creampuffs that no one wants to see.

Pacific Pal

June 1st, 2013
7:06 am

I agree with those who detest the cupcakes. The Florida Atlantics and Buffaloes have no place in Athens. And McGarity talks about the business that Athens gets with the likes of those puppies? Less and less, I would bet. Seems off the wall to me. If I lived in Atlanta, and I don’t, I wouldn’t put the keys to my car in my pocket on Saturdays to drive to Athens and see those kinds of teams play us. Bill, you overstate your love of the Dawgs when you say you will go and see any game between the hedges. Why would you pay good coin to see crap? And, as an aside, how come brother Richt doesn’t play the subs very much in those patty cake games? The Richt enigma lives on.

Drop Tech from the schedule. They aren’t THE Rival, Florida is and has been for a long time. I’d rather see that game than any on the current schedules. I’d love to see Ohio State. ESPN will run the show and that means headline games for ESPN Prime Time and the SEC network to be, and a Georgia vs. Buffalo “game” is not one of them. And shouldn’t be. Don’t forget the $$$$ lads!