SEC Spring Meetings: Thumbs Up…Thumbs Down?

Mayo:  The SEC announced this week that they would be cutting the cord on their previous divisional set up within the conference this coming season.


The divisional set up was clearly done for the purposes of the football season, as there has to be a way to decide who will play for the conference championship. Basketball, on the other hand, has conference tournaments to decide that. Go figure.

A divisional set up simply does not make sense for a college basketball conference, which is why the SEC was the last to make the change. All it did was screw up the seeding of the conference tournament. You would have teams playing each other in the first round that really shouldn’t have faced off until the semifinals, potentially. That is a product of the divisions not being equal, as well. Last season, five teams from the SEC East received bids to the NCAA Tournament. The West? A goose egg.

Really, the only question is why it took so long for this change to be made. I’ll toss it to Giblin for his analysis on the move and how it shapes things in the SEC going forward.

Giblin: First, Florida coach Billy Donovan suggested the conference tournament be seeded by RPI.Huh? How did this guy win 2 National Championships? Yes, Billy. Let’s seed the tournament based off of computer ratings which has been a flawless system for college football and gone over so well with the media and fans. Idiot.

Seeding based off the RPI? Shut up Billy and start working on your end of game strategies.

Like Mayo said, why did it take this long? There’s a reason the other BCS conferences don’t have divisions – it’s stupid. Take a look at the Southeastern Conference’s standings from this past year. The SEC East was a lot better than the West last year going 27-9 against them in head to head competition. The unbalanced schedule led to two undeserving teams getting byes in a pretty competitive SEC tournament. That isn’t right. Have every other team face each other once, play a couple of rivals home-and-home every year. The other match-ups rotate on a yearly basis. Seed the tournament on overall conference standings. It’s not perfect but it’s better than what they have.

But Mayo, have you heard that the SEC is contemplating increasing their schedule from 16 games to 18, or potentially 22? That’s leave the schools with about ten out-of-conference games a year. Wouldn’t it be almost impossible to get a true gauge of how good the conference is? Seven or eight of the ten games would be cupcakes, so we’d be looking at three out-of-conference games to judge most of the schools on. 22 seems like a bit too much.

Mayo: I don’t completely understand the conference schedule increase, especially to 22 games. Again, we see the SEC trying to reinvent the wheel here. Someone needs to tell these guys that their conference is middle-of-the-road at best when it comes to the BCS conferences in basketball. What does playing 22 conference games accomplish? I’m still scratching my head.

Giblin hits the nail on the head, this only takes away opportunities for SEC teams to play a good non-conference schedule, which is becoming more and more important to the NCAA Tournament Committee come March. Don’t believe me? Ask Seth Greenberg if he wishes he had beefed up his non-conference schedule the past couple seasons. And Virginia Tech is playing in the ACC, which is a more respected conference than the SEC when it comes to basketball.

Here’s some advice for the SEC, follow the lead of the other conferences like the Big East and the ACC. They must be doing something right…right?

Giblin: 22 games is ridiculous. I know it would allow every team to play each other home and away but it would kill their ability to schedule non-conference games. And as Mayo said, that would be a killer for their NCAA resumes. What about 18 though?

Coach K also thinks that ACC teams should schedule better outside the league to help their profiles instead of going to an 18-game schedule:

“I think it’s important that we don’t go to 18-games so that we can still have the ability, if all of us can schedule right. Part of our problem as a conference is that we have not scheduled non-conference wise hard enough to promote a good RPI which would benefit everyone.”

I respect Coach K’s thinking, but I got to disagree. Two more conference games would make the conference schedules less unbalanced and more fair. And teams wouldn’t have to sacrifice the integrity of their non-conference schedules. Just eliminate two of those games against the St. Francis’s, Elons, and New Jersey Institutes of Technologys of the world.

What do you all think? How many games should BCS conferences like the SEC and ACC have for their conference schedules?


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Filed under General, Opinion

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