HATS OFF TO THE SEC!
Be it eight conference games or 10 conference games, no conference can game a schedule like our buddies in the SEC.
Is anyone surprised at the ‘equitable,’ we aren’t scheduling for the college football COVID playoff, two-game SEC add-ons? Full disclosure. I use the word ‘equitable’ here as I do in regards to Livin’ Large Larry’s remuneration.
The COVID add-on games were Zoomed from the SEC’s Birmingham, Alabama, headquarters to the SEC head coaches (HCs) the week of August 17th, in the year of our COVID overlord, 2020. Not surprisingly, the conference HCs who do not live in the SEC college football stratosphere came away feeling far more ‘Zoomed’ than did their usual College Football Playoff-suspect brothers.
Notwithstanding the fact that 26 B1G and Pac-12 teams are sitting the season out, thereby lessening the run for the final four, why give our fellow conference ‘suckers’ an even break?
As the boys on the Saturday Down South blog opined, “Had the add-on games been announced at an in-person meeting in Birmingham and not via Zoom, someone would likely have had their family jewels rearranged by a hob-nailed boot.” Bill Connolly, the creator of the SP+ formula and who is now scribing for The Athletic, had a number of questions and comments about the SEC, 2020, and conference-only games.
To wit: “I’m not saying the SEC tried to make sure its champion ends up with a great record, I’m just saying if that was the goal and using my pre-season SP+ rankings, giving Alabama the conference’s 8th best team, Kentucky and 12th best team, Missouri, giving LSU, Missouri and 14th, and last place, Vanderbilt, giving Georgia 11th place Mississippi State and 13th best, Arkansas, and also handing Florida, Arkansas, would be a perfect way to go about it.”
Before the COVID-altered schedule, Missouri was projected by Connolly to go 6-6; now, 3-7. At least MIZZOU gets to play ‘conference’ foe, LSU, for the second time since it joined the SEC in 2012. And if this isn’t exciting enough, in 2023, the LSU Tigers will make their first visit to the Columbia, Missouri, Tigers; which is nice.
Another team with a new HC, Arkansas, looked good to win at least four games pre-COVID. Now, Arkansas is scheduled to play SP+ preseason nationally ranked teams, 1, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11 and 19. New Hogs coach Sam Pittman‘s squad will be at least an eight-point under-hog in every game this season.
Welcome to the SEC, Sammy, and have a really nice day!
But Sammy is looking at smooth sailing compared to Admiral Derek Mason‘s Vanderbilt Commodores. Mason might as well be piloting a submarine. Vandy is at least a 13-point leaker coming into every game.
But there is good news! At 0-10, neither the Hogs nor the Dores, will have to spring for post-game Gatorade showers. And in Vanderbilt’s case, limiting home game attendance to 25% of capacity will be nothing new.
When the disgruntled and de-grits-ed SEC HCs inquired as to how the two add-on games were determined, they were given the following, in-depth, detailed answer.
“Well, why don’t y’all just hush-your-mouth!”
Hey, if you can game an eight-game conference schedule, why not a 10-game conference schedule?
And the beat goes on, y’all; it goes on.
Let’s not forget half-pregnant ACC member, Notre Dame. The Domers are college football, All-Covid-Connected in 2020 — with a chance not only to play Clemson at home, but to play the South Carolina variety of Tigers in an ACC Champ Game. Still, no need in 2020, including the potential conference champ game, to have to play more than 12 pre-playoff games. So, it’s all good in South Bend.
As a full-time member of the ACC in 2020, the Irish’s schedule is easier, on paper of course, than the pre-COVID schedule.
The 2020 projected win percentage for all Power 5 teams still scheduled to play (per SP+) dropped with the cancellation of out-of-conference games; except for Notre Dame’s. And in this regard, Notre Dame does deserve scheduling kudos.
The Irish went from playing three projected Top 20 teams to two. It also went from playing six Top 50 teams to playing five. Not sure what this says about the ACC football? Actually, I am sure about what this says about ACC football; it stinks!
With only one and not four out-of-conference games in 2020, how many ACC teams will finish .500 or better? Will any games even be played this fall? North Carolina, due to numerous positive COVID tests, has already sent its student body back home. But its ‘student’-athletes are going to stay on campus and play fall sports?
Seems to me that me that the final nail may about to be hammered into the ‘student’-athlete coffin.
Stay safe, one and all.
Aiken, South Carolina
Top Photo from Twitter
Natalie Liebhaber, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in the financial technology industry in Bozeman, Montana.
Jon Joseph grew up in Boston, Massachusetts but has been blessed to have lived long enough in the west to have exorcised all east coast bias. He played football in college and has passionately followed the game for seven decades. A retired corporate attorney Jon has lectured across the country and published numerous articles on banking and gaming law. Now a resident of Aiken South Carolina, Jon follows college football across the nation with a focus on the Conference of Champions and the Ducks.
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