I saw a blog post earlier this week bemoaning the likelihood that the 2012 SEC football schedule will “only” consist of eight conference games instead of eight.
This has been a particularly busy week at work, so it’s taken me a while to post some thoughts on this topic, but here goes.
I think there are three reasons why the SEC will stay with eight games.
1) There’s only so much fun you can take in one year. Playing eight games will make it even harder to go through the season unscathed. I think there comes a point of diminishing returns in terms of competition. Adding another league game may seem like the logical thing to do, but if it increases the losses of your ultimate league champion, say adios to BCS championships.
2) There’s a reason we schedule cupcakes. If you have to travel to College Station or Columbia the week before one of your annual rivalry games you’ll understand. The college football season has become more compact over time, especially with the addition of a 12th game. It wasn’t unheard of in the past to have two bye weeks. Now, we’ll gladly take Georgia State the week before the Iron Bowl, thank you very much.
3) Adding a ninth conference game forces you to lose a home game every other year. Yes, it’s about money, but not just the money of the schools, coaches and administrators. We’re talking about money for local economies. The restaurants in Tuscaloosa will take a home game against North Texas any day over a road game against anyone else.
Talk all you want about how not adding another conference game will damage certain conference tradition, but until the above items get addressed, don’t expect a ninth game.