Alabama Football: SEC should boldly go to 10-game schedule

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports /

Remember when Alabama Football coach Nick Saban stated he was in favor of a 10-game conference schedule? Apparently, few people share that recollection, including no one in the national media. Saban’s opinion was not recent and it was included in a statement of support of a 9-game schedule. He added even a 10-game schedule would be fine with him. His comment was consistent with another unpopular Nick Saban opinion; that Power Five teams should only play Power Five teams.

More recently it has been reported that Saban is opposed to a nine-game, SEC schedule. Actually, his dissatisfaction about expected SEC scheduling changes was solely about every-season opponents Alabama Football would face in a 3-6 format.

It has been rumored Alabama’s three would be Tennessee, Auburn and LSU. The trio is fine with many Crimson Tide fans unless Georgia’s three are Auburn, Florida and South Carolina. Or unless Tennessee’s three include Vandy and either Kentucky or South Carolina. Or unless, LSU’s other two are two of Mississippi State, Ole Miss or Arkansas. One reason there will never be equity in schedule strength is because of the perpetual weakness of Vanderbilt.

Another problem with a 3-6 format is every season half of the SEC’s teams have only four home conference games, while the others have five.

The SEC should boldly go to a 10-game schedule. Ascribing boldness only applies in comparison to current SEC scheduling. In the 2023 season, SEC teams play 39 games against opponents that have no chance or the slimmest of chances of an upset.

Based on Jeff Sagarin’s final 2022 rankings of 261 college football teams, the SEC has some woefully bad 2023 opponents. The weakest non-SEC, 2023 opponents for the 14 SEC teams, based on the 2022 rankings, range from No. 84 (Georgia Tech) to No. 240 (Grambling State). Thirty-one 2023 SEC opponents have a 2022 ranking of No. 101 or higher.

Note: A presumption made in this post is any team ranked from No. 80 to No. 261 is a mismatch for every SEC team except Vanderbilt.

An argument can be made that except for Vandy, no SEC team needs any of these games. The primary obstacle to ending such contests comes from coaches and ADs fearful their program will not qualify for a bowl game.

A 10-game SEC regular season, with a 4-6 format would do away with around 50% of the out-of-conference mismatches. The 4-6 format would also mean the cycle for SEC teams playing all the other teams would be only three seasons.

The 10-game, 4-6 format will not be voted on at the SEC’s Spring Meetings. If it was, the only possible yes would come from Alabama. Instead, a portion of dreadful SEC football will continue.

Alabama Football schedules the games as well

Alabama football fans can point fingers at other SEC teams, but the Crimson Tide has nothing to crow about.

  • Alabama Crimson Tide (2023 season) – MTSU (No. 117); South Florida (No. 129); Chattanooga (No. 145)

Other SEC 2023 Schedules

  • Auburn Tigers – U Mass (No. 188); Samford (No. 122); New Mexico State (No. 136)
  • Arkansas Razorbacks – Western Carolina (No. 176); Kent State (No. 105); FIU (No. 187)
  • Florida Gators – McNeese State (No. 206); Charlotte (No. 163)
  • Georgia Bulldogs – UT-Martin (No. 167); Ball State (No. 115); UAB (No. 85); Georgia Tech (No. 84)
  • Kentucky Wildcats – Ball State (No. 115); Easter Kentucky (No. 166); Akron (No. 150)
  • LSU Bengal Tigers – Grambling (No. 240); Georgia State (No. 93). LSU also plays No. 73 Army.
  • Mississippi State Bulldogs – Southeast Louisiana (No. 137); Western Michigan (No. 111); Southern Mississippi (No. 101)
  • Missouri Tigers – South Dakota State (No. 161); MTSU (No. 117)
  • Ole Miss Rebels – Mercer (No. 125); Georgia Tech (No. 84); ULM (No. 142)
  • South Carolina Gamecocks – Furman (No. 110); Jacksonville State (No. 119)
  • Tennessee Volunteers – Virginia (No. 88); Austin Peay (No. 151); U Conn (No. 134)
  • Texas A&M Aggies – New Mexico (No. 169); ULM (No. 142); Abilene-Christian (No. 162)
  • Vanderbilt Commodores – Hawaii (No. 154); Alabama A&M (No. 231); UNLV (No. 120)

Next. False Narratives for the 2023 season. dark

To put it mildly, most SEC football fans hate most of the mismatch games. Surprisingly, media partners are quite content to stream the games and even do some on Linear TV.