Pac-12 Coaches Rip SEC Football Scheduling Format

By Kevin Kelley -

The war of words continues to grow over the SEC’s future football scheduling format. Several Pac-12 coaches expressed strong opinions over the format, which calls for eight conference games.

Currently, the Pac-12 and the Big 12 are the only two conferences that play a nine-game conference schedule. The Big Ten will move to nine games beginning in 2016. The ACC will reportedly make a decision on their future schedules later this month.

Speaking on the Pac-12 teleconference today, Stanford head coach David Shaw had the strongest words on the SEC’s choice to continue playing eight games.

“We all need to play by the same rules. Don’t back down from playing your own conference,” Shaw said.

That’s not the first time Shaw has blasted the SEC. Back in November, he said the Pac-12 had the toughest schedule to navigate partly due to the SEC’s November “cupcakes.”

“You can write that — cupcakes,” Shaw told

Shaw can back up his words with Stanford’s schedule strength. In 2013, the Cardinal had arguably the toughest schedule in the nation at season’s end. It was rated the toughest by four of the five BCS computers and fourth in the other.

Stanford’s 2014 schedule will be ranked in the Top 10 of our upcoming toughest strength of schedule list despite being only 42nd using the NCAA’s method.

Earlier on the teleconference, Oregon State head coach Mike Riley offered his opinion on the SEC playing one less conference game than the Pac-12.

“I don’t think it’s right. There’s got to be some equity here,” Riley said.

Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich was not surprised by the SEC’s decision and echoed the sentiments of Shaw and Riley.

“Obviously our feelings are if we are going to call anything equal or point in the same direction for the playoffs, it seems like the qualifications for that playoff should be equal. We are a long ways from that in a few leagues and conferences,” Helfrich said.

Helfrich further stated that the SEC only plays eight league games “for a reason.”

“I think there’s a couple leagues who are in the minority of playing less than nine league games, that’s definitely to their advantage.”

The war of words will likely continue, especially from teams and conferences that feel they have the upper hand in the debate — those that already play nine conference games.

The College Football Playoff committee announced earlier this week that schedules will matter as a whole and whether a team plays eight or nine games will make no difference.

Only time will tell if that criteria remains the same. The SEC could eventually be pressed into more conference games by the playoff or other factors.

Comments (58)

Good for the PAC.

People need to tell the SEC that they are being cowards.

Really? If the SEC played PAC-12 teams, it would be easier than most of their current schedules. SEC shows up at most NC games (10 of the 16 BCS games) and wins most of the time (9-1), with the only loss coming in last 13 seconds. The PAC-12 most definitely does NOT have the toughest schedules, not now.
I admire Stanford and David Shaw but he’s just being a crybaby.

I never compared any conferences.

I simply said that the SEC had cowardly motives for not going to 9. They hurt the fans. They hurt anybody who wants to see teams from the other division more than twice every 12 years.

Not going to sit down and compare conferences. Every year is different. Some are up. Some are down. Some are top heavy and some aren’t top heavy but are very competitive from top to bottom.

I don’t believe the SEC made the right decision and I simply agree with the PAC coaches comments because I feel as a fan, I got robbed of more SEC games, which is all I actually wanted…

Whats all the fuss about? The Pac-12, BIG and Big 12 all had the same opportunity to vote for the 8 conference games per year but chose not to, so don’t critize the conferences that have chosen to play 8!!!!

True. But they actually wanted to PLAY their conference…

An SEC team has to go 12 years before they host and are hosted by every team from the other division (besides their cross division rival). If you are going to stick up for that, it’s your right. However, I won’t waste time arguing because I disagree completely. You should want to play your conference, it’s as simple as that.

Then pac ten is a joke only one school has won the bcs and that USC since 1990 Washington team sec has Florida Alabama Lsu Auburn Tennessee all won since then also pac ten only had one other team play for that was Ducks the reason the play 9 game is no school want to give them home and home with such travel cost if the top 12 pac ten school played the top 12 sec school i would be surprise if the would even win a game…..

You should spread those periods out within the paragraph rather than putting them all at the end. They don’t do much good there.

Gus I enjoyed your employment of the English language. So long as the SEC continues to schedule weak out of conference they will be criticized heavily. The only way to know if a conference really is better than other conferences is to look at what they do out of conference and unfortunately the SEC is trying to avoid proving themselves in that area. 1 game each will be an improvement over the recent past and present though, but even then that is still a bit of a pansy move to only require 9 Power 5 games when other conference are looking at requiring 10.

They instead claim that playing themselves is to tough for them to play other good schools. Just because Alabama, Cam Newton, and Urban Meyer are or were extremely good does not mean the SEC as a whole is.

To show that you are a good conference, play in 10 of the 16 BCS NC games, and win 9 of them. I think that point has been made. BOOM!

They say weak oos for the SEC, but didn’t. LSU smack Oregon around like a little biz? Didn’t Bama put a running clock on Michigan? Every single year the SEC has better non conference games than the Whack-12. Yay! We can play Washington State and Colorado more!

The SEC just this year in the OOC is playing the teams ranked nationally # 1, 6, 8, 8, 10, 15, and 22. In the final AP Poll. Go put your conferences OOC schedules up, and see if matches. This year the SEC is playing at Florida State, at Oklahoma, vs Clemson twice, UCF, at Louisville, Wisconsin, Boise State, at Kansas State, at Texas Tech, Georgia Tech, and West Virginia. Al these teams will get a boost because they are playing legit SEC teams.

The PAC 12 has the balls to criticize anyone’s schedule? Listen to these OOC teams they play. Nevada . Portland State twice , Rutgers, Georgia State, Hawaii 3 times, Eastern Washington, Illinois, Idaho State, Fresno twice, San Diego State, Boaton College, Memphis, Colorado State, UMASS, South Dakota State, UNLV, Weber State, UC Davis, UTSA, UNLV, Northwestern, Sacramento state, Army, and Wyoming!!!!

The only teams they play with a pulse are Notre Dame 3 times, Michigan, BYU, Texas, and Michigan State. ND and Mich State were the only ones who finished in the top 25.

Hey Phillip,

I love playing the “manipulate information to work in my arguments favor” game too. Listen to these OOC teams the SEC plays:

Idaho, Eastern Michigan, Eastern Kentucky, Troy, Charleston Southern, UT Martin, Ohio, South Dakota St, Toledo, Furman, South Alabama, Arkansas St, Chattanooga, UMASS, Charleston Southern, Old Dominion, Temple, Florida Atlantic, Western Carolina, Nicholls St, Samford, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico St, UT Martin, UL Lafayette, Memphis, Presbyterian, Lamar.

Mind you, many of these “ferocious” and “worthy” games of the all-powerful SEC are being played in November.

Ultimately, I agree with the coaches of the PAC12 (and my guess is, the B1G and BIG12 will have the same sentiment). With the start of the new college football playoff, I believe there needs to be some uniformity in format and structure. For example:

– I think that every conference should play the same amount of conference games (I don’t really give 2 squirts of pee whether its 8 or 9. I just think it should be uniform all around)

– I believe that the Big 5 conferences should ALL have a conference championship game (get on board BIG12)

As long as there is not any type of structure or uniformity, people are going to gripe. The closest you can get to creating an equal structure for all conferences and teams to follow, the sooner we will be doing it the right way in college football.

This is the most pointless debate in sports. Newsflash to all the power conferences head coaches – YOU ALL SCHEDULE AT LEAST ONE “CUPCAKE” EACH SEASON. Going through all the power conference schools OOC schedules for this season only 9 (Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Arizona, UCLA, Colorado, USC) don’t have an FCS school of their schedule. Of those 9 there is only one schedule I saw (USC’s) that could be debated is “cupcake” free (depending on if you feel Boston College is a “cupcake” or not).

I agree that going to the playoff that the power conferences should all play the same amount of conference games. But the countless gripping and ripping of other conferences for how the schedule OOC games is pointless and stupid when they all schedule “cupcakes”

A month or so ago Athlon Sports put together a ranking of the teams going int 2014 based on recruiting rankings for the previous 5 years….In that list I found the following for the 2014 schedule when looking at teams in the top twenty of those rankings
Florida and South Carolina will play 6 teams in the top 20,
Bama and Tennessee will play 5 teams in the top 20,
FSU, LSU, Auburn, Georgia, ND, TAMU,UCLA and Stanford will play 4 teams on this list
USC and Clemson will play 3 teams on this list
Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan and Oregon play 2 teams on this list
OSU and Miami will play 1 game with a team on this list

Quit drinking the watered down kool-aid.

What do recruiting rankings have to do with schedule strength?

How many lower tier programs do SEC programs play each season is the fundamental question.

Besides Georgia (and maybe Arkansas), every SEC programs has at least three easy non-conference games on their 2014 schedule (and schedules beyond).

The furthest SEC most teams willing to travel in 2014 is Big12 sites.

TAM, Vandy, Ol Miss and Miss St non-conf schedules are a joke.

Note how so many upper tier SEC programs prefer scheduling neutral site games versus home-and-home series.

2014 schedules:

Geo: [Clem] / [GT] / Troy / Charleston South
Ala: [WV (Atl)] / So Miss / FAU / W Carolina
Ark: [TexTech] / No Ill / UAB / Nicholls St
Aub: [KanSt] / San Jose St / Lou Tech / Samford
Fla: [FlorSt] / East Mich / Idaho / East Ky
Ky: [Louisv] / Ohio / ULM / UT Martin
LSU: [Wiscon (Hou)] / ULM / NM St / Sam Houston St
Missi: Boise St (Atl) / Memphis / ULL /Presbyterian
Miss St: So Miss / UAB / So Alabama / UT Martin
Mizzo: [Indiana] / UCF / Toledo / So Dakota St
SoCar: [Clemson] / ECU / So Alabama / Furman
Tenn: [Okla] / Utah St / Ark St / Chattanooga
TAM: SMU / Rice / ULM / Lamar
Vandy: Temple / Mass / Old Dominion / Charleston South

TAMU’s schedule is bad. But with Vandy, Ole Miss and Miss St, they are just like the bottom teams of every major conference. They schedule light because they are trying to be bowl eligible. That’s their yearly goal, sadly.

TAMU’s schedule is only the way it is b/c they had a 10 year OOC series with Arkansas at JerryWorld when they were a Big12 member. That took away their marquee OOC game and with Big 12 teams refusing to play them they were left with few options.

When the other conferences can command higher rankings, higher ticket sales, and better results, then the SEC can consider playing at their sites more. Right now, much of the SEC has the upper hand at scheduling for these reasons.

If they had the playoff system in place last year, SEC people would have been up in arms. Stanford would have been in the playoffs over Alabama. Reason being they won the Pac 12 conference with an extremely difficult schedule. Alabama didn’t get into their conference title game. Its going to be extremely difficult for any team to get to the playoffs without playing in their conference title unless their schedule is head and shoulders above others.
2013 playoffs-
1. Florida State vs 4. Stanford
2. Auburn vs 3. Michigan State

Its a new world- better get into their conference title game and improve SOS.
We will see teams getting into the playoffs who have one more loss than than another team who doesn’t make it.

I agree. The SEC would have gotten in. Stanford can lose, they just can’t lose to a team that has never had a winning PAC12 season. That was a BRUTAL loss.

In The SEC Georgia, Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina end their season by playing a non conference game against their main rival who is in a BCS conference. (only Texas A&M has elected not to play their main rival Texas moving forward.) Alabama – Auburn, Ole Miss – Miss St., Tennessee – Vandy are the built in rivalries for conference play.

In the PAC 12 only Utah and Colorado have their main rival existing outside of the conference. Colorado has committed to playing their rival yearly. In addition USC and Stanford have elected to play Notre Dame every year. So USC Stanford Colorado and Utah (if they would commit to playing BYU annually) have 10 contracted games per year leaving only 2 open spots per year moving forward.

Also its funny that Shaw says that everyone should play by the same rules. The only power conference that currently crowns a real champion each year is the Big 12 because they play a true round robin. Every other conference sends teams to play in a championship game. The problem is that their division titles are base on conference records and not division records. So teams do not play identical conference schedules. Also with a 9 game schedule half the teams play 5 conf road games which again does not create a level playing field.

I respect the way the SEC handles scheduling. The SEC does not want to put Florida South Carolina Georgia and Kentucky at a disadvantage for playing quality non conf rivalry games each year. Instead they say keep those games and we will require the rest of our teams to play at least one non conf BCS team each year also. The other thing that the SEC does is let their teams put together their non conf schedules first and then they fit their conf schedules around that. This allows them to strategically place their bye week along with the cupcake games on their schedules.

The PAC 12 tells their teams that they can only play their non conf games in September (minus the Notre Dame exception). This forces teams to use a bye week in September and it also forces them to play their 9 game conf schedule mostly in consecutive weeks.

In my mind the PAC 12 is creating an unnecessary degree of difficulty for their teams making it harder for them to contend for national titles. While the SEC provides flexibility which has helped lead to a very impressive run of National Titles (none of which have been stripped by the NCAA).

SEC scheduling model > PAC 12 scheduling model.

I can understand what the PAC-12 is saying about how the SEC schedule their OOC games. I was in favor of the 9-game conference schedule, where each team can play all the teams in the conference at least once every 3 years. That would have been great for everyone, but at the same time, I think SEC is looking out for smaller schools in the area, financially. SEC equally share the money among themselves to each team, and give out a good amount to the nearby schools, and somewhat can put those other schools on the map. Even though, the SEC is being nice and cool right now, that could change at any moment, especially if they gain any more teams into the conference.

Just don’t know what the playoff system and future scenarios will do to a conference. Missouri almost won the SEC Title in their 2nd year of the conference. Texas A&M was a contender in the SEC West in 1st two years in the conference. SEC just might change their mind about the 8-game conference schedule, after seeing if not beating each other in the conference, actually helps a team get into the playoffs.

Personally, I don’t think a team should go to playoffs unless they are a conference champion.
(CFP going to need some wild card matches for those highly ranked teams, not participating in a conference champion game. 2 wild card matches should work.

I won’t have any respect for the toothless, poorly educated SEC until they travel outside the South to play a football game. They are afraid to travel to places like South Bend, Columbus, Chicago, Ann Arbor etc. But, when you’re still crying over losing the Civil War, what do you expect.

I lived in the South (Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee) for MANY years and it isn’t a stereotype. And no, Southerners crying over the Civil War is not an exaggeration. Have you been holed up in a Buckhead condo all your life? Why won’t an SEC team come North to play a regular season game? Fear of something. Pretty weird.

You must be Rip Van Winkle. Oh, yeah, SEC teams really fear ND, Ohio State, Michigan, etc., as evidenced by games in recent years, particularly in bowl or NC games. ND was undefeated playing those tough “Northern schedules”, touted as # 1 in the nation in 2012 season and what was the score against a 1-loss Bama team? Oh yeah, 42-14 (but not as close as that sounds).
SEC plays anyone who shows up in the NC game for 8 years in a row (won 9/10 overall) and finally lost in the last 13 seconds to go 7-1. As a matter of fact, only one “Northern team” has won a BCS National Championship. ONE.

When considering SOS don’t just consider last season. You need a larger sample size to test any plausible premise.

How many “non-power” and FCS programs does the SEC play each season versus other power conferences?

Appears publisher of this site is a non-objective SEC-fan.

Where is there anything in this article that is slanted towards the SEC or non-objective?

If you are referring to my comment above, the OP led with a jab at Southerners and then followed with a blanket statement that SEC teams are afraid to travel. Both are untrue.

In the last 10 years:
– Alabama went to Penn State
– Georgia went to Arizona State and Colorado
– Georgia was going to Ohio State later this decade but Ohio State canceled
– Arkansas went to USC and Rutgers
– Arkansas played at Texas and also TAMU multiple times before they joined the SEC
– Auburn went to West Virginia and Clemson
– LSU went to Arizona State, Washington and West Virginia
– Ole Miss went to Texas and to Missouri when they were in the Big 12
– Mississippi State went to West Virginia and Georgia Tech
– Tennessee played at Notre Dame, Cal, UCLA, and Oregon.

I only looked at about half the schools. Point is, you can’t just make a blanket statement that SEC schools don’t travel. They do, certainly not often enough and maybe not to the school you wish.

But it’s also a two-way street. Those teams have to be willing to travel to the SEC schools also.

2009 Sugar Bowl was an awesome game. And I’m not a UTE fan. 2014 Sugar Bowl was also a good game and I’m not a Sooner fan.

For someone who is not a “UTE” fan. That sure was a random drop.
I am guessing you are, since the only people that ever talk about the “awesome” 2009 Sugar bowl on this page are… Ute fans.
But yes it was so amazing ;)

Forget the B5 “extra game” If somebody in The SEC beats Purdue, Utah or Kansas in football – should the playoff committee be impressed? Just because you are in the B5 you might still be a doormat.

A team can’t really be. A doormat team,, if they making it to the bowl games, especially winning those bowl games.

So how do you compare Ol Miss as the bottom team of any major conference?

Certainly they’re not the major power as they were in the sixties. But Ol Miss won the Cotton Bowl in 2009 and 2010 and won their bowl games the last two years.

If anything, Ol Miss is more like the middle, but not even near the bottom.

SEC teams would love to play a PAC 12 or a Big Ten schedule any day of the week.

All Conferences should play a balanced schedule of 9 Conference games, and two Elite Non-Conference Games, and play a Lower Level FBS School? If FCS Schools want to schedule FBS Games, then they should apply for FBS, and not be required to be invited by an FBS Conference, just play as an Independent, or form another FBS Conference with at least 10 Schools. ….Oh, and I hope that the SEC doesn’t get a spot in the FBS Playoffs ! ;)

With more schools moving into the FBS from other divisions, eventually all conferences will have (or required) a conference championship game. After that, maybe all conferences will be required to have a 9-game conference schedule. The conferences with 10 or 11 teams must play at least 9 conference games, which is technically no ones fault. Bigger conferences get more options.

As for the playoff spot, how many Top 10 spots, in the BCS era, were by PAC teams .vs. SEC teams, at the end of the regular season? That answer will let you know which conference has a better chance at a playoff spot.

I think that The BIG 10, PAC 12, and The Big 12, and Notre Dame should think about scheduling each other for Non-Conference games, and exclude the SEC, ACC and The American AC until they go to a 9 game schedule?

Re Dirk’s two comments above. I’ve come around not minding mind each power conference and group of five program (formerly known collectively as BCS programs) playing ONE FCS program each season. It would be more honorable if all those games were played to begin the season, rather than near the end of the season as is done by many SEC programs.

I don;t know how feasible but I concur with the idea of programs playing a 9-game conference schedule avoid scheduling the SEC or ACC. I really don’t care what the AAC does.

@Tux, I assume this is sarcasm.

You mean that most top tier SEC programs would love to play a HOME game, or neutral site game (east of the Rockies), against a P12 team.

Georgia cancelled a home-and-home with Oregon. Texas A&M tried to cancel with Oregon but Ducks refused.

Alabama, Auburn, Florida, So Carolina, Georgia and Ol Miss are not willing to travel west. LSU and Texas A&M will, but only to larger markets (LA, Seattle, Phoenix) (that is, besides the home-and-home with the Ducks which the Aggies tried to cancel).

I commend the Vols tener cojones. Tennessee continues to maintain their self-respect willing to schedule home-and-homes with Pac12 programs, unlike Alabama, Auburn, Florida, So Carolina, Georgia and Ol Miss.

Tamu didn’t necessarily try to cancel Oregon. Their new AD misspoke and thought it had been cancelled. But if TAMU wants out of the game, all they have to do is pay the fee. Oregon can’t “refuse” to let them cancel.

Also, don’t know about the other schools you listed without researching, but Georgia played a home and home with Arizona State and Colorado recently.

Gamer, I think Pete was saying the SEC’s new requirement to play at least one non-conference game against a “power conference” program, does not necessarily make that a quality game (e,g, SOS). For example this year Missouri’s only 2014 non-conf game against Indiana is not a “quality” game. Nor is the 2017 Missouri-Purdue game. If Missouri has any eyes on making the 2017 playoff, they are are best to add an additional power conference opponent to their schedule.

Having an affiliation with Notre Dame provides ACC programs with a built-in scheduling advantage. If the ACC doesn’t go with a 9-game conference schedule then ACC programs who want to compete for the playoffs would be wise to schedule two non-conf games against power conferences. Sans 2014, note Georgia Tech’s future non-conf schedules,

Of course many non-conf game agreements are made a couple years in advance, and it can be difficult to forecast the quality of team (SOS contribution) one will end of be facing. Look how Texas has tanked recently, and the rise of Duke in the ACC.

I don’t sense Duke, VT, Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers, Baylor, WV, Kansas, Kansas St, TCU, Texas Tech, and Iowa St will be having the same level of success they once (or recently) had, and rather will be competing with the likes of Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Vandy, Kentucky, Miss St, NC St, WF, BC, WSU, Utah, and Colorado, fighting for the middle and.or to stay out of the proverbial bottom and achieve a slot in the ever increasing number of lower tier bowl games.

Louisville, NC, GT, Virg, Tenn, Ark, Missi, Mizzo, TAM, NW and Arizona are wildcards in my book.

If the Louisville wants a shot at the playoff, they would be wise to schedule an additional power conference non-league game each season, besides their annual rivalry game with Kentucky.

At any rate top tier teams have to be careful how they schedule their non-conference games, as the Playoff Committee is watching. Scheduling three or more non-conference games against “Group of Five” or FCS programs, will seriously impact the chances of any program, that has not won their conference, to make the playoff.

In 2014 if you are a member of a power conference AND obtain an even overall win-loss record, you are most assured of a bowl game. If grading on a relative curve, teams earning an F still get to go to a bowl. So saying your team went to a bowl, or your teams schedule includes eight programs went to a bowl last year, is a meaningless metric.

I see your point on all those subjects. Even as a SEC fan, I hate that they didn’t go with a 9-game conference schedule, but I think this format they going to use, might be as a trial test for at least 2-4 years (even though, they not claiming that). I see this as the big question:

Who gets a better chance into the playoffs?
(A) Undefeated teams
(B) Non-conference champions with big non-conference wins (at least 1 lost)
(C) Conference champions with a small non-conference wins (at least 1 conference lost)
(D) Teams with the longest winning streak (you know where that comes from)
(E) Teams that have done better in post-season games (BCS bowl winners with 2 losses)
(F) Conference runner-ups with a stronger record and SOS than the conference champion

Conference-BCS(Former)-Anything Else formating:

I just think that 8C-1B-3A format is really a trial error until they see how the results and voting works. It probably will move to a 9C-1B-2A or 8C-2B-2A if the SEC has trouble getting their teams in the playoffs.

Once again, playing FCS teams sometimes motivate them to move up. Look at App. St, Georgia Southern, Charlotte, and Old Dominion. North Dakota St. been beating up on some FBS teams lately in the North and out West. They really should join the FBS.

Love seeing all of the SEC haters on here. Truth is that it is all about the money. In the South, the top tier SEC teams are able to sell out all home games and thus scheduling three more home games (in addition to their four conf. games), gives them seven of twelve games at home and more money. Typically, the top tier SEC schools also schedule one top tier game outside of their region (if they can find a worthy opponent) Examples this year: Ga. v. Clemson (home and home), Alabama v. West Va. (neutral site), and LSU v. Wisconsin (neutral site). These are Labor Day Saturday games in situations that create a bowl like atmosphere in cities like Dallas and Atlanta and, guess what? Their fans, alumni and students support them and go to the games! Why not have a Stanford v. Texas at Phoenix instead of UC Davis to start the year?

When the PAC 12 teams can fill up stadiums and generate the kind of support (both financial and passionate) that you find in the SEC, Big 10 and some ACC programs, then you can expect more crowds and dollars from a Cal Poly or Montana home game in September, and more television revenue.

Oh, and for the FCS haters, please do not let your ignorance of quality football among the top FCS teams cloud your comments. BCS (or I should say former BCS schools) schools would rather schedule a Wyoming, Temple or Tulane (a bottom FBS team), over a North Dakota State, Appalachian State, or Georgia Southern! Just ask Minnesota, Kansas, Kansas State (all lost to North Dakota State), Michigan or Florida! By the way, Georgia Southern gave national champion Alabama the best offensive game in 2011, scoring 21 and rushing for 305, than any other opponent, including their SEC foes, and did the same to Georgia in 2012, before beating Florida in 2013 where both the Eagles and Gators had a number of banged up players. But, have no fear: App. State and Ga. Southern are now beginning play this fall in the FBS so the next time they beat a big boy it may not seem like such an upset!

P.S.-The real reason that the Stanford coach is lobbying for the SEC to play 9 within their ranks is to give the SEC teams each one more loss within their conference and thus dilute their national poll presence (typically 5 or 6 teams in the top 25 at any given time). While I am not a fan of the Super-sized conferences, it seems that we are headed for 16 team conferences who play only within their division, plus one or two from the other division. At least they have a conference championship game. It will not be perfect imho, though, until we have a 16-20 team playoff like we see in FCS and EVERY other level of play: NFL, Div. II, III, NAIA, High School, Pee Wee League! Okay, thank you for the Soap Box Time!

GamerTeeTom… You make all valid points. Agreed that the SEC decision is probably for a trial period, to see how it shakes out. I suspect the decisions of the playoff committee will motivate the SEC to go to a 9-game schedule sooner than later.

Eagle Fan… not at all an SEC hater. The SEC is indeed the best football conference. No debating that. Please don’t pull the hate card as it invalidates any argument you might have. (indeed commenters are held to different standards than content publishers).

To refocus on the original topic, I’m commenting objectively on “scheduling equity”.

It’s a new day with the new four team playoff. In this new day, three non-conference games against non-power conference programs is one to many,..period.

Until the SEC goes to 9-game conference schedule the SEC will not receive the respect of many. And I suspect the playoff committee will make this clear.

So will just agree to disagree,

He’s right. Why put together a massive 14 team conference if you just want to avoid all your conference games. SEC strength of schedule has officially become more myth than reality.

The reason teams like South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Kentucky were opposed to a 9-game conference schedule wasn’t because they were trying to undermine other conferences that play 9, it was b/c it wasn’t fair within our own conference. South Carolina plays Clemson every year, it’s actually a state law that we have to. Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Ark, Auburn, Miss St., Vandy, Tenn, and now A&M and Mizzou, they don’t have non-conference rivals. So if we went to a 9-game format, South Carolina, Georgia (Ga. Tech) and Florida (FSU) and Kentucky (Louisville) would be playing 10 tough games, whereas the aforementioned teams would only be playing 9. Now, if they went to 9 games and you had to play one BCS non-conference game, that’d be more fair.

I just had posted this on another article, and I do see your point and those SEC East teams point about the 9-game schedule. I think this list below would be a good example of how to make the 9-game format schedule, fair to all the SEC teams.

Great Annual Non-Conference Rivalry Games:

SEC East:
Florida and Florida Sate (ACC)
Georgia and Georgia Tech (ACC)
Kentucky and Louisville (ACC)
*Missouri and Kansas (Big 12)
South Carolina and Clemson (ACC)
*Tennessee and West Virginia (Big 12)
*Vanderbilt and Wake Forest (ACC)

SEC West:
*Alabama and Oklahoma (Big 12)
*Arkansas and Oklahoma State (Big 12)
*Auburn and Miami-FL (ACC)
*LSU and Baylor (Big 12)
**Mississippi St and Kansas State (Big 12) or Virginia Tech (ACC)
*Ole Miss and Iowa State (Big 12)
*Texas A&M and Texas (Big 12)

*=My thoughts and suggestions

Florida is by far the worst example of a good team that will never leave its comfort zone regarding challenging out of conference games. Did you know that the last time Florida played and won a out of conference road game against a team from one of the 5 major conferences was 1965 winning @ Northwestern 24-14, prior to that it was 1958 winning @ UCLA 21-14.

1968 lost 22-7 @ North Carolina
1975 lost 8-7 @ North Carolina State
1978 lost 17-13 @ Georgia Tech
1983 tied 19-19 @ Southern Cal.
1991 lost 38-21 @ Syracuse

Florida was also the 1st SEC team to play a minimum of 2 cupcakes in 1988 beating Monta St 69-0 and Indiana State 58-0.

Florida has only played 2 bowl games outside of the deep south in the past 34 years. They do love their home cooking..

If anyone thinks te SEC is plays to many cupcakes then they are stupid. Look at who wins the most and then you can talk. The sec is the best confrence and will always be.

It’s no small pleasure to find this thread after watching the SEC get shellacked in the bowl games. The rest of the country was overjoyed to see the SEC get ripped so badly, and we hope all of you obnoxious SEC fans are crying hard into the New Year.

But, instead of manning up, and adopting a 9 game conference schedule, to try regain its position honorably, the SEC will double down on cowardice and come up with more sissy excuses to keep its sissy 8 conference game schedule.

May the South never rise again.

from an SB Nation blog by Berkelium97 on 8/12/14:
“Do you know what would be easier than playing an 8-win team? Playing 8 conference opponents whose records are 1 win better thanks to an extra non-conference game. Beat an 8-win team or beat 8 teams with slightly better records–the benefit to the strength of schedule is roughly the same over the course of the season.”

But that’s not how the scheduling has worked out. Instead of substituting an 8 win team for that conference game, we see a lot of games against “group of 5” teams with 7 wins or less. Or even worse is the almost universal scheduling of FCS Teams (13 of the SEC’s 14 in 2015, for instance).

More from Berkelium97:
“That is exactly what is wrong with maintaining the discrepancy between the 8-game conference schedule of the SEC, ACC, … and the 9-game schedule of the Pac-12 and Big 12 [and now the Big10]. If some teams have the opportunity to get an extra win in non-conference play, the penalty for playing a weak opponent will be washed out because most of their conference opponents will have inflated their records by one win. That is how you get conferences like the ACC with eleven bowl-eligible teams. Can anyone legitimately challenge Florida State or Duke’s strength of schedule under these circumstances? They had to battle through a conference with eleven bowl-eligible teams! Their conference schedule is so tough that they had to play some weaker teams during non-conference play to balance things out. I’m sure you have heard this argument before from other conferences.”

His sarcasm here is hard to miss.

He proceeds to show with an in depth simulation the difference (using the Pac12, because they did play 9) in SOS between 8 and 9 game conference schedules when substituting even a lame NC opponent for a non-division conference opponent that every team’s SOS improves. It only makes sense that a conference game creates a win and a loss for the conference overall, while non conference wins stack up. And they do stack up:

I’m writing this in June 2016. Looking back at the SEC results for 2015, the conference went 45-10 (LSU game vs McNeese St cancelled), with 5 of those losses to Power 5 Conference teams and a sixth to FCS’ Citadel by S. Carolina. Of those 45 wins, only seven were over Power 5 conference teams (including BYU), only one of which was a true road game (LSU@Syracuse). 4 of these P5 games were on “neutral” fields like Dallas, Atlanta, Houston or Kansas City – all within the SEC “footprint” if not also within the SEC’s school home state.

Of the 55 SEC non conference games in 2015, only 4 were true road games, with LSU@Syracuse being the lone game outside the SEC “footprint.” Think about that for a minute.

With home games against FCS teams with scores of 56-6, 48-6, 34-3, etc. padding the stats, and an apparent conference wide policy of avoiding Power 5 true road games and limited true road games in general, it’s hard for the mighty SEC to argue that it really faces anything but a self-rigged deck when extolling its 8 game conference schedule. In fact, cheating one’s fans of seeing the marque teams from the other division at home except once a decade(!) seems almost cruel. I don’t think lots of games against ULM or Middle Tennessee make for more “value” for the season ticket holder.

It’s nice to see that the SEC recognizes its shortcomings and has mandated a Power 5 game be scheduled for each school for 2016 and beyond. It’s no accident that the majority of those games are against the ACC, the only other P5 conference also playing only 8 conference games. Think the ACC’s inflated SOS (in the 8 vs 9 game analysis) might have anything to do with that?

In the final analysis, the Pac12/XII/Big10 coaches have a valid point. I wonder if the NCAA should perhaps modify the Football Playoff Committee’s formula to recognize it.