What if SEC eliminated divisions?

81usaf92

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Mizzou 2013 and 2014 say hi.


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2014 Mizzou wasn’t a sham team. Had they outlasted Auburn then they would’ve played for a national championship. 2016 Florida was far more of a sham than 2014 Mizzou.


But eliminating divisions and going to a 9 game schedule welcomes you to a lot of Kentucky and Vandy appearances because there would be a lot of 3 to 5 loss sec championship teams.
 

81usaf92

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Just think about this. Without divisions and a 9 team schedule then Alabama could potentially play Auburn, UGA, UF, LSU, and aTm all in one year while Auburn could have a schedule that avoids all but 1 of those teams.
 

CajunCrimson

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Mar 13, 2001
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I would prefer that we get rid of conference championship games altogether. Expand the playoff to 8 teams. First round is played on conference championship weekend, then a re-seed and break until January, when the second round is played and the CFP plays out as it currently does. No more travel and expense for fans than the current model. Eliminates what is an unfair knockout game for the tougher conferences (like the SEC and B1G), and gives 8 teams a chance.

One caveat - no automatic qualifiers.
I’d be against round one being Championship weak for one reason. No prep time. The week after Auburn you then prep for any one of 4-5-6 possible opponents. That gives the advantage to teams that play fast.
 

Ole Man Dan

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I would prefer that we get rid of conference championship games altogether. Expand the playoff to 8 teams. First round is played on conference championship weekend, then a re-seed and break until January, when the second round is played and the CFP plays out as it currently does. No more travel and expense for fans than the current model. Eliminates what is an unfair knockout game for the tougher conferences (like the SEC and B1G), and gives 8 teams a chance.

One caveat - no automatic qualifiers.
I'm for eliminating East and West.
I'm also for a 9 team SEC season.
 

BadgerTidefan

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I am for eliminating divisions except maybe with 2 permanent rivals. Possibly the schedules could be made more fair that way, but I haven't gone thru that. It would be great and more enjoyable at least from my viewpoint as a fan for all the teams to play each other more frequently. Since the Playoff Committees stated goal is to place the best 4 teams it would be nice if all the conferences structured their playoff (or lack of) to line up with the same goal.
 
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teamplayer

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Jul 31, 2001
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I like divisional play because there is very rarely a rematch in the championship game. I like that a team has to win its division to qualify for the championship game. Yes, I know that the divisions aren't always the same strength, but I still like it that way. With the playoff still available for a national title, teams that don't qualify for the SEC championship can still qualify for the national title. I think that says a lot about our conference. We have benefited from that a couple of years ago with the playoff and a few more years ago in the BCS. We have too many teams in our conference to play every team, so schedule strength can still be an issue when comparing records, so I still like the division system in that regard, too.
As far as the league schedule rotation, I wouldn't be opposed to dropping the permanent cross-division rival to rotate through all of the teams more often.
 

GrayTide

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Boot out the four newbies and play a full round robin. No title game.


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This would be my preference also, but there is no way the SEC goes back to a 10 team conference and plays 9 conference games a year. It really is the fairest way to determine the conference champion for every conference. Let the B1G really be the Big 10.
 

LSUgrad2BamaDad

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I like the divisions, but I’m not in favor of either permanent opponents or an 8 game schedule. Make it 9 games and you play 3 teams from the other division on a rotation.
 

GrayTide

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I do think the permanent cross division rivals needs to be eliminated, should have been at least with the last expansion. I also favor a 9 game conference schedule. I still would like to see Mizzou to the West and Auburn to the East. It would give better balance to the conference. If you have to keep cross divisional rivals:

Auburn vs Alabama
Florida vs LSU
UGA vs Mizzou
Kentucky vs Miss State
Vanderbilt vs Ole Miss
Tennessee vs Arkansas
USCe vs TAMU
 
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USCBAMA

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I think it would be a good idea, but I also think it has zero chance of happening. The reason we don't have a nine-game SEC schedule nowadays is because the conference riffraff of Arky, the Mississippi teams, Kentucky, S Carolina, the Aggies, and Vanderbilt (that's fully half the conference, and you can include Mizzou)......they don't want it because there go those non-prestigious bowl games in luxurious holiday spots like Shreveport.


Those teams I listed above are happy with a 6-win season that ends with a bowl game. Right now they make it by scheduling 4 cupcakes (at least 3 and 4 for most of them) and hoping for a 2-6 conference record that puts them at six wins. Force them to give up cupcake for a good team they don't play every year (for example, force Arkansas to actually have to play Florida and/or Georgia in the same year several times), and they'll be 4-8 and watching the mediocre teams play during the Christmas vacation.

I also suspect the conference itself is wary because more regular season Alabama-Georgia games will both knock out one (or perhaps both) playoff participants out of the tournament as well as create what the Big 12 has now - almost guaranteed rematches for the conference title. The SECCG has been fortunate that very few of the games have been rematches. The odds of that increase dramatically when you don't have the participants locked into a divisional setup.


The interesting case cited in the article above is 2013.........does anyone really doubt that had we lost The Play That Shall Not Be Named game the way we did that we would not have absolutely rolled Auburn in a rematch? And taking nothing at all away from that Tigers team, I think that setup is what made the loss more devastating and the win more thrilling for Auburn, the thing that made college football what it was. (And while it is obviously painful to recall, I will confess a certain level of awe at the You Tube videos from the stands of both that play and Rocky Block - it captures the fervor of the live event, and it's one of those moments that are so rare in life).

That game is a fond recollection for Auburn fans and a nightmare one for us - but that really wouldn't be true if the two teams played a rematch seven days later.


Personally, I'm for it because it solves the most obvious problem of "but the two best teams didn't play each other." Let me give a good example of what I mean.


Imagine the year is 2008. Ole Miss loses to Wake Forest (which they did), Memphis (they won that one) and Florida (this was the famous Tebow Speech upset)......but knocks off #2 Alabama thanks to an obviously bad call, and the Tide runs the table. Because of the head-to-head, Ole Miss wins the West despite 3 losses to Alabama's one, two of those losses being pretty embarrassing. Imagine also that in the East, Florida goes 11-1 (as they did) with their only loss to Georgia (it was to Ole Miss as I said above).....whose only SEC loss is to Alabama, and the Dawgs are 10-2, with a loss to Ga Tech (which they did).


You now have a situation where the SEC has two of the nation's best teams (as they did in 2008), both with one loss.......and both sitting at home watching two-loss Georgia play three-loss Ole Miss to determine the best team in the SEC. And rest assured that if that had happened three times in a row, the SEC would have made the necessary changes then.

I'm generally against rematches in CFB because it tends to detract from the luster but.......I prefer rematches of the best teams in place of "well, the best team has to face somebody, so it may as well be the team that won solely on the basis of the divisional setup."


SEC TITLE GAME CHANGES IF THERE WERE NO DIVISIONS
(yes....I realize the schedules in more recent years with expansion would be somewhat different)
1993 - Florida vs Tennessee
1995 - Florida vs Tennessee
1996 - Florida vs Tennessee
1997 - Tennessee vs you tell me (four two-loss teams; UGA and LSU beat UF, Auburn beat UGA and LSU, UF beat Auburn)
1998 - Florida vs Tennessee
2001 - Florida vs Tennessee (the week after the makeup game from 9/11......)
2002 - Georgia vs Florida
2003 - LSU vs Ole Miss
2005 - LSU vs Auburn (SEC champion UGA does not even make the game)
2011 - LSU vs Alabama (presumably the Tide goes because of a better overall record????)
To be fair, UGA & USC & UF have other reasons to oppose expanded SEC schedule, namely each has to play a non-conference Power 5 team each year (UGA-GT, USC-Clemson, & UF-FSU).
 

GP for Bama

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Feb 3, 2011
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I mention this a lot.
The answer is 8 game SEC schedule. 3 permanent rivals and 5 rotating games. No divisions. Every SEC team plays every other SEC team at least 2 times every 4 years. The main rivalries are preserved. The two top teams meet in the Championship Game.
Also would be good to require every SEC team to play 2 Power Five non-conference teams every year.
 

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