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 CBSSports.com.
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.
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.