SEC needs to partner with Big 12 not ACC

SEC needs to partner with Big 12 not ACC
February 11, 2014, 11:00 am
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A story surfaced last week with regard to future scheduling and a possible alliance between the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference.

There are four teams in the league who already engage in annual contests with ACC teams: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina have in-state rivals that they play every season. The deeper you dig into the story the more it is obvious this idea has been floated out there by the ACC and has no legs with the league at this time. 

All of the major conferences are looking toward the future with respect to schedules and what they should do to ensure the strength of schedule. The four-team playoff has many of them guessing at what to do in the future. I believe the SEC will move to a nine game schedule in the future due to the size of the league. If it wants to strengthen its non-conference schedule by partnering with another league, the ACC is not the answer; it’s the Big12.

The SEC has already entered an agreement with the Big 12 with regard to the Champions Bowl, which will pit conference champions against one another or the highest-ranked teams after the four-team playoff selection. The league also provides better recruiting options and rivalry opportunities.

The SEC has Texas A&M and Missouri which could beef their schedules up with rivals Texas and Kansas. It also makes sense with powers Oklahoma and Oklahoma State providing quality matchups year in and year out.

The ACC already has its best three teams facing the SEC every year in Florida State, Clemson and Louisville, so really there is not much to gain by extending that partnership to 14. Virginia Tech and Miami have been worthy in the past, but both are in a decline mode currently. There are no matchups that can compare to those in the Big 12.

Reasons to partner with the Big 12 over the ACC:

  • Better matchups. SEC already faces best in ACC.
  • Recruiting. Adds more areas to an already broadening footprint.
  • Restore old rivalries. Texas vs. Texas A&M and Missouri vs. Kansas are historic.
  • SEC West needs games. The East has four games with the ACC.

2015 Potential Ackerman Big 12/SEC schedule

  • Texas vs. Texas A&M
  • Kansas vs. Missouri
  • Oklahoma vs. Alabama
  • Oklahoma St. vs. LSU
  • Baylor vs. Auburn
  • West Virginia vs. Tennessee
  • TCU vs. Arkansas
  • Kansas St. Vs Ole Miss
  • Iowa State vs. Vanderbilt
  • Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State
  • Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky vs. ACC w/1 game vs. Big 12 every four years.

This and that

  • Missouri defensive end Michael Sam announced the he was gay last weekend and it was received with great courage across the board. It didn't surprise me that his team knew all season and didn't talk. The Tigers were a close unit and that was the key to a special season in Columbia. I know it is a big deal for most, but honestly I don't think it’s a big deal for football players. Football is the consummate team goal made up of 55-85 players from different backgrounds with different interests. To be successful you have to learn to trust each other and what someone does off the field is less of a concern then how they carry themselves on the field. I am sure when he's drafted in the third or fourth round; some will wonder if this was a factor but the fact remains his stock is not as high as Kony Ealy his teammate who had less production.
  • Arkansas hired Robb Smith at its defensive coordinator. Smith, who spent last season with Tampa Bay, has also been the defensive coordinator at Rutgers in 2012. Smith worked with Bret Bielema at Iowa back in 1999 for three seasons, so there is some familiarity. The Razorbacks were last in turnover margin last season forcing just 14 after just 12 in 2012. The total of 26 the last two years is less than three SEC teams had this season alone.
  • The coaching carousel has been very busy this offseason especially with the assistant jobs. The pay and job security is better than ever and guys are looking to line themselves up with the best opportunities. Only 32 FBS Schools have had their entire staff remain intact.  In the SEC it looks like just five of the 14 will return exactly as they did in 2013. The two division champions Auburn and Missouri lead the way as well as 11-win South Carolina. Two second-year coaches, Mark Stoops at Kentucky and Butch Jones at Tennessee, are the other two schools that will return an entire staff from last season. While change is likely, those who can sustain continuity the longest can achieve success for a greater period of time. Alabama has had some turnover, but most under Saban has come after his first national championship and he still has Kirby Smart which is an invaluable asset.

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