Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

SEC coaches differ on nine-game league schedule

ot_360414_vrag_gators_11 of (10/6/12 Gainesville, Fla.) Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp waves to fans after the game between the LSU Tigers at the Florida Gators in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. on Saturday, Oct. 6. The Gators defeated the Tigers 14 - 6.  [WILL VRAGOVIC, Times]

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

ot_360414_vrag_gators_11 of (10/6/12 Gainesville, Fla.) Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp waves to fans after the game between the LSU Tigers at the Florida Gators in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. on Saturday, Oct. 6. The Gators defeated the Tigers 14 - 6. [WILL VRAGOVIC, Times]

DESTIN — The final vote on whether the SEC will move to a nine-game league football schedule and eliminate permanent cross-division games won't come at this week's league meetings, but it's clear commissioner Mike Slive won't have an easy task, and there won't be a consensus among the coaches.

The SEC coaches gathered Tuesday for their annual spring meeting and the nine-game schedule was a hot topic. Slive reiterated he remains open-minded through this contentious process.

"I don't believe we'll come to any closure here, but my hope is that everybody here will weigh in on the discussion," Slive said. "When you're talking about scheduling there are different elements, and each one has to be dissected to make sure there are no unintended consequences if we decide to change."

With the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri last season, the league adopted the format of six division opponents, one rotating and one permanent from the opposite division. Many coaches have strong opinions about potential changes.

Alabama coach Nick Saban wants a nine-game schedule, keeping one permanent opponent and two rotating. He knows he's in the minority, but said fellow coaches need to look at the bigger picture, not just their own teams.

"The biggest thing that I think we all need to do in some of these decisions that we're making about who we play and what we do is, what about the fans?" Saban said. "Because one of these days, they are going to quit coming to the games; they are going to stay home and watch it on TV. And everybody is going to say, 'Why aren't you coming to the games?' 'Well if you play somebody good we'd come to the game.' So that should be the first consideration. And nobody's considering that one.

"They are just thinking about, 'How many games can I win? Can I get bowl qualified? How tough of a teams do I have to play?' "

Which is precisely one reason Florida coach Will Muschamp said he prefers the eight-game league schedule.

"I'm not for nine because of our in-state rival (FSU)," Muschamp said. "If you had another conference game you're just adding another slippery slope on the step to a championship. And that's just my personal opinion. … The other stuff as far as the permanent, rotating, whatever they want to do is fine."

LSU coach Les Miles has been a vocal opponent of the permanent game — in his case, the Gators. Over the past 10 years, LSU and Florida have each been ranked nine times when the teams met. Permanent rivals Alabama and Tennessee have been ranked once when they met.

"It's an issue of fairness and competitive equity," LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said. "I think it's fair that everyone has a chance to play everyone on a rotational basis. You have to play everyone in your division, but after that there should be a true rotation of all the other opponents so everyone has a fair, competitive schedule. … Right now it's not fair and it's imbalanced."

Slive said it's unlikely the changes would take effect before the 2015 season, but he has no set timetable. If there is change, a consensus is unlikely.

"I don't think there will ever be a consensus on that with the coaches in the room," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "Because there's coaches like myself who have an in-state rival (Georgia Tech) who's out of the conference. There are some schools who have an in-state rival that's within the conference. So it affects each school a little bit differently."

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com.

SEC coaches differ on nine-game league schedule 05/28/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 12:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.