Schedule, Schmedule

Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious spring by . . . well, speculation on the permanent SEC football schedule, I guess.

With recruiting in the slow spot on the calendar, the baseball season barely underway, and the basketball season screaming toward March Madness over for Carolina AGAIN, Gamecock fans are left with the little things, like making fun of CTU (always in season), and arguing furtively over future conference football schedules.

If you are like me, then you’ve heard a little bit of everything in this discussion: nine conference games, eight, a reversion to seven; permanent opponents, elimination of the perms; pod systems (?!?) and even doing away with the divisions entirely. Some folks at other schools [coughgeorgiacough) are still so high from the 2012 schedule fiasco that they are advocating one schedule for themselves and their cross-division rival, and a completely different system for the rest of the league.

Quick aside here: At what point do the Dawgs just come out and advocate for a round robin for everyone else in the league, but Georgia’s future OOC games against Louisiana Tech, Memphis, and Southern Miss count in the SEC East Standings? Its the only logical extension of their current “preserve our Auburn rivalry” argument, which is just a thinly veiled attempt to dodge LSU, Arkansas, and Alabama for the maximum time possible.

USC AD Eric Hyman practicing his stance for upcoming conference negotiations

Oh, and extending this now not-so-quick aside: Play Auburn every year? Tell me again what, exactly, is the attraction in that proposition? I can tell you that, as a school that plays an almost Auburn every year (h/t to the late Lewis Grizzard), the annual meeting with our orange-jort-wearing buddies and their accompanying bovine brides only accomplishes two things: It forces me to wash, ahem, organic fertilizer off my car, and it makes my wife look like Cindy Crawford.

But back to the endless schedule debate: I’d like to make one prediction for the upcoming conference negotiations, and then I’d like to propose a possible alternate solution that has, to my knowledge, not been offered elsewhere.

As for the prediction: I am almost certain that the SEC scheduling negotiations will result in Carolina finding itself at a permanent and marked competitive disadvantage. Why am I so gloomy? ‘Cause our AD has a solid track record of being anything but solid in such meetings. Hyman will be broken by the force of other members, and our football program will suffer for it.

As for the solution, consider this:

Do away with cross-division games entirely. That’s right, eliminate all those games. You want to play someone in the other division? Then schedule them at your own peril. Or, how about this for idea? If you want to play a West team so badly, why don’t you earn your way by beating all the teams in the East and facing the best that the West has to offer in Atlanta?

But I’ve got a feeling that UGa would want to quash that idea pretty quickly.