Steve Spurrier’s idea that the conference title game should be represented by the team’s that have the best record against their respected divisional opponents has been up for discussion at the SEC Spring Meetings in Sandestin, Fla. Spurrier’s idea means that the cross-divisonal games between SEC opponents will not count towards their chances in making the SEC Championship game.
Spurrier’s idea might have been sparked by the outcome of last season when USC went 5-0 in the East and 6-2 in the SEC and did not represent the East in the title game due to Georgia’s 7-1 record in the SEC.
“We’ve lost seven games in the last two years, and five of them are to Auburn and Arkansas,” Spurrier said. “We were pretty good against them other guys, I guess.”
Mark Richt, Georgia’s head coach, is one of the SEC coaches who is not in favor of this possible idea.
“Every man has a right to his opinion, and if (Spurrier) gets it changed, then good for him,” Richt said. “I don’t know if he’d feel that way every year, but this year he’d probably feel good about it. … The reality is in our league play if you lose to somebody head to head or beat somebody head to head, you’ve basically got a two-game lead on that team. So there is an advantage to that still. It’s not like there’s no advantage or no difference. There is a difference.”
Nick Saban, Alabama’s head coach, is another coach that is not in favor of Spurrier’s proposal. Alabama’s cross divisional rival is currently, Tennessee, who was 1-7 last year in the SEC.
“I just think that there’s no perfect way to do it. But I do think you’re going to sort of minimize the importance of cross-divisional games if you say they don’t count toward the championship. Then we’re really not an SEC. We’re really just an East and a West, so why would we even play the games?”
Florida’s Will Muschamp and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen both say they do not want to devalue the cross divisional games in the SEC. On the other hand, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and LSU’s Les Miles voiced their opinion in favor of Spurrier’s idea.
“The best team in the West should play for the championship,” said Miles. “The best team in the East should play for the championship. I think there’s a view of a loss in a crossover game that it could be detrimental and not allow the best team to come into the championship game.”
Even though Spurrier’s idea has been up to discussion with the other SEC coaches, Greg McGarity, Georgia’s athletic director, said that the idea has not been discussed by all of the athletic directors in the SEC.
“I guess the coaches will meet with the commissioner and talk about it at that level and find out what the vote is among that group,” McGarity said. “I’m not sure if it’s an agenda item or not.”