SEC needs to commit to 9-game schedule to best showcase its greatness
In the Southeastern Conference, it is time for each institution to live up to the league’s mantra.
You know. It just means more.
It is time for the best football conference in the country, one that will get even better in 2024 with the additions of Texas and Oklahoma, to step up and play a nine-game schedule with three rotating opponents. However, we won’t see that next season at least since the SEC will keep an eight-game schedule.
Many of the league’s bottom feeders are against the additional game. Those programs need to schedule a win to be bowl eligible.
Kentucky won its last outright Southeastern Conference football crown in 1950. Mississippi State won its last SEC title in 1941. Those schools don’t relish the thought of having yet another SEC heavyweight on their schedule. Understandably so.
However, they do relish the enormous payouts that come to each league school, based on the league in which they play and the eyeballs watching? Of course.
Frankly, ABC and ESPN in their new TV deal aren’t paying for Kentucky versus Mississippi State on a Saturday night.
LSU head coach Brian Kelly said it best.
“I love Alabama, I love Nick,” said Kelly to reporters at the SEC meetings in Destin, Florida.
Kelly left Notre Dame for two things, a contract worth up to $100 miliion and a chance to play on the biggest stage. Last season, there was no bigger stage than the Tigers against the Crimson Tide on a Saturday night in Baton Rouge.
LSU’s overtime win was a signature victory for Kelly.
So, was the Tigers’ shootout win at the Swamp against Florida. Those are the games that make the SEC what it is.
Many of the same schools carping about the possibility of going from eight to nine games had no problem with LSU and Florida stuck playing each other every season.
Oh well, they said.
Now, the thought of turning the dial up on their own schedules has them in a tizzy.
So, what is the league to do?
Simple. Commissioner Greg Sankey, who has done an extraordinary job of leading the SEC, has to step and do what leaders do. Coax them into a decision, and make some folks angry.
That means playing nine league games.
The SEC may want to, at some point, go back and re-negotiate its deal with the networks, especially when an economy currently in the doldrums bounces back.
Can you imagine this 2024 double dip on ABC? At 2:30 p.m., it is Alabama at Texas followed at 7:00 p.m. by LSU at Oklahoma.
That, my friends, equals eyeballs.
Football is the bell cow sport in the Southeastern Conference, and the schools who carry the water for the league in that department (Alabama, Florida, Georgia and LSU) have won multiple football national titles since 2000. Those programs should be showcased.
To get the maximum exposure, you do it with nine games.
Remember, it just means more. Time for action to equal the hype.
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WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM
Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…