Let's play a game of "name that team". In the Post-Bryant Era (1983 season-present, and irrespective of voided games for infractions) we have four SEC teams. All four teams won at least one National Championship and at least 2+ SEC titles. All four teams have had at least five coaches since 1983. Even spicier, these four teams play at least two of the other three every year.
We have: Team A, that compiled a record of 253-119-2. Team B, that went 286-90-4. Team C went 239-119-4 over that time. And, finally, we have Team D, with a record of 247-106-4. Care to take a guess at whom is whom?
Not surprisingly, these four are all in the top-5 in the SEC for winning percentage (sorry UGA), and total wins (sorry
Historically, the LSU-Florida rivalry stands 31-25-3 in
As Les Miles has repeatedly framed it, the issue is one of "fairness". Namely “unfair” to LSU, as he sees it, is that that
I think there is some unintended, unearned advantages by scheduling. I mean unintended, the conference put it in there and they tried to deal with the traditions of the conference and tried to make things work. I think the unintended has to do with that. No question there are some advantages by scheduling. You can deny historically, traditionally that those two teams are pretty strong [UGA/UF]. And those two teams can make a difference in what is the Western Division championship. And they can make a difference year after year if the scheduling is not some way made equal.
To try and make LSU’s case, notorious Tiger homer Brando says “If I would've told you in the last 13 years, you would've played non-divisional opponents Florida and Georgia, you've played them 17 times. And
LSU v. UT, UF, UGA (4, 13, 4)
UA v. UT, UF, UGA : (13, 4, 4)
And, adding SECCG appearances over the past 13 years, LSU has met the East troika a total of 5 more times, three against UGA (for a total of 7 appearances) and twice against UF (for a total of 5 games). LSU has never even played the Gators in the title game.
So, save it, Les. Historically, all four teams are nearly equal. Each has had a period of wandering in the woods over the past three decades. And, versus the other three teams, each has played at least two of the others damn near the exact same number of times. Your permanent opponent is on par with you, which is to say, usually an elite foe. And, guess what? In the post-Bryant era you can say the exact same thing about
The next issue, and one absolutely in ignorance of the SEC’s welcome-to-the-neighborhood-meet-our-standard-bearers agenda, is the concern over so-called “bridge” scheduling. This is how bridge scheduling worked. With the addition of the two FNG’s, the SEC essentially adopted the 2008-2009 rotational schedule. However,
The “bridge scheduling” assgrief is no more a conspiracy than the infamous six straight opponents, all coming off byes, all-in-conference, that
Is a 9-game schedule more equitable than bridge scheduling? Maybe. But, honestly, what solution was supposed to be imposed absent a temporary fix? Another one, that would have aided say
As a larger matter, will elimination of bridge scheduling do anything about the permanent UF-LSU, UA-UT, UGA-AU rivalries? Absolutely not. These are big ticket, big draw games. These are historic games. These are games with a lot of hate and animus. Even with a nine-game schedule, do not expect the Gators to go into that sweet goodnight. Scheduling sucks and it sticks it to you: Just ask
So, Les, man-to-man, chest-to-chest, it’s time to realize that a bridge schedule which harmed as many teams as it aided –as zero sum scheduling is wont to do, and the nature of elite competition, means things won’t change anytime soon.
And I, for one, eagerly await the 44th meeting between the Gators and Tigers in 2014, and beyond.