The Southeastern Convention’s scheduling mannequin is so entrenched that the majority followers might piece it along with ease: Eight convention video games, an FCS opponent at house and a few different non-league matchups with possibly a standard rival blended in.
How lengthy that tried-and-true formulation can final is the query. The SEC is preparing to add Oklahoma and Texas to the league and there might be extra growth.
“I believe the SEC must develop it is convention video games for positive,” stated former Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers, now an analyst for the SEC Community.
That is simpler stated than performed,
The SEC season is already a stress cooker over eight video games the place week-to-week a crew’s championship fortunes might be upended. Now the league would possibly add a number of vital video games to the gauntlet.
Former Florida Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow is not positive how that shakes out.
He sees the significance of going through often overmatched groups from the Soccer Championship Subdivision to ensure that SEC groups to discover a rhythm. However as a fan, the now ESPN analyst, needs extra matchups just like the High 25 Auburn-Penn State showdown earlier this month.
“If I am an AD at an SEC college, I am like, ‘I already must play an SEC schedule. Are you kidding me?” he stated of the prospect of including league contests.
“I am getting as many directional colleges as I can” on the schedule, Tebow continued.
It is a tough balancing act for schedule makers. When groups play different Energy 5 groups, it may be a springboard for fulfillment or blunt a promising season.
Within the SEC, No. 2 Georgia gained momentum and buzz with its 10-3 victory over then-third-ranked Clemson to begin the season. Two weeks later, No. 22 Auburn fell in a drama-filled go to to Tenth-ranked Penn State, 28-20.
The Nittany Lions have risen to No. 4 whereas Auburn has held on close to the underside of the rankings.
The Energy 5 doles out hefty paydays for what’s often a simple victory towards “cupcake” FCS groups. Each SEC crew has one on the schedule this season. The AP surveyed SEC colleges and located that 12 of the 14 packages can pay a mixed $6.15 million in ensures for such video games.
Solely Arkansas and Georgia wouldn’t reveal what they will pay, that means the whole SEC payout is nearer to $7 million.
The contests — that usually look extra like scrimmages — are useful for the SEC crew and its followers. Soccer groups iron out points from fall camp whereas reserves, who will not see the sector as soon as convention play begins, can get vital taking part in time. And crowds seemingly stream from packed stadiums glad with a blowout victory.
Generally, issues do not work out. Vanderbilt paid East Tennessee $415,000 to open the season and misplaced to the Buccaneers 23-3.
Rodgers believes the league should rethink its scheduling. Extra SEC video games are wanted in a super-sized, 16-team league, the SEC Community analyst stated. Rodgers added that uniformity in scheduling nonconference video games might squeeze out the FCS — ending one of many main income streams such colleges have in funding athletics.
“We’re on the cusp of school soccer as a complete altering utterly,” Rodgers stated. “I believe we thought that it was behind us, ‘Look Texas and Oklahoma are right here, let’s all take a breath.’ No, no, no, it is solely going to get crazier.”
The SEC only has to look at its recent past for a doable resolution. The COVID-19 pandemic led the league to an all-SEC, 10-game schedule in 2020. The SEC performed all however two regular-season video games, ending with a championship contest as Alabama emerged as nationwide champion.
“You recognize, we performed 10 SEC video games final 12 months. I assumed it was nice for followers. I assumed it was nice for the matchups,” stated Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, lengthy an advocate for extra SEC video games.
Georgia coach Kirby Sensible, No. 2 to top-ranked Alabama within the High 25, can also be backing extra SEC video games as a result of he says it is “good for the league.”
Ought to the SEC maintain on to eight-game league season with 16 groups, it might imply just one cross-divisional recreation. Assume Florida-Alabama within the common season as soon as a decade.
However further convention video games might have an effect on going through FCS groups, opponents from the Group of 5 leagues and custom Energy 5 rivalry video games like Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State or South Carolina-Clemson.
The coronavirus eradicated these contests final 12 months. School soccer’s altering panorama would possibly do the identical.
“The mannequin goes to proceed to alter,” Rodgers stated. “So buckle up.”