The Southeastern Conference, ignoring the best interest of football fans and Verne Lundquist, has opted to stick with an eight-game conference schedule.
The Atlantic Coast Conference next month will discuss adding a ninth league game, as well as ditching divisions. Prediction: The ACC, with Notre Dame coming on as an alternating non-conference opponent, will follow the SEC and stand pat.
Meaning less potential drama and a similar sprinkle of FBS-FCS mismatches in stadiums across the land.
Elsewhere in the world of disposable income options, most good restaurants in the South still plan on serving their best food every night instead of mixing in FCS Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Wednesdays.
More good games, please.
Fewer meaningless Saturdays.
Eight isn't enough.
Ten reasons why the SEC and ACC should go to 10 conference games per season:
1. TV ratings. Even more important going forward than now, and now more important than ever before. The SEC, with all of its market share, brand loyalty and star power failed to give fans the best individual matchup show in college football: Jadeveon Clowney vs. Johnny Football. A 10-game league schedule would have increased the odds.
2. Schedule strength. The new four-team playoff demands improved schedule strength. A 10-game conference slate builds muscle.
3. Fans in the seats. Season ticket holders deserve better entertainment for the rising cost of fandom that strain tailgate budgets.
"I've been a proponent for eight games," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. "I like the flexibility that it gives us."
But an eight-game schedule is also inflexible within conference play. That we're about to enter our fourth SEC season without a South Carolina-Alabama game (barring a 2014 SEC championship clash) is a shame for fans of both schools, and fans of good football shows. The ACC never offered Clemson's Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins against Miami's athleticism.
Too late now.
SEC pride, ACC rivalries
4. Schedule fairness. An eight-game conference schedule has just two division crossover games, and inherent unfairness. LSU has to play Florida (and vice versa) every year in the "permanent crossover" format, while Alabama gets Tennessee. Two more crossover games add balance, and more chances for good games in the SEC's 3:30 p.m. Saturday showcase spot with CBS and Lundquist on hand.
5. FCS matchups eventually will find a proper place. Smaller schools that miss fat paychecks that come with playing the big boys will scream, and we don't want those programs going broke. Sensible solution: Every FBS team plays a preseason game vs. an FCS foe that doesn't count in the won-loss records or against schedule strength.
6. Conference pride. If the SEC is so good, let's see it on more head-to-head Saturdays. If the ACC wants to catch up, it needs all the conference rivalry games it can get, new and old.
7. Insurance. Clemson and South Carolina draw well these days, in big part because they're winning. A 10-game conference schedule is insurance against the down years. An extra game against LSU or North Carolina is so much better on the marquee than another game against Sun Belt Tech.
8. It's all relative. Worried about tougher schedules making for worse won-loss records? Don't. Every team in the conference has a similar challenge, and if it looks like other conferences will steal some spots in minor bowl games because of better records against weaker schedules, the SEC and ACC can lobby the NCAA to make schedule strength a factor in determining bowl invitations.
9. Student interest. Steve Spurrier almost annually needles South Carolina students about leaving early. Other schools have trouble getting students to show up for football games, and certainly for other athletic events. How about giving the kids more value for their ridiculously high tuition rates and, in many cases, athletic fees?
10. Recruiting. Always be closing, always be recruiting. Players want to play against the best teams, on TV, in front of the most fans and fellow students and with the greatest chance of making a national championship run. Ask Verne Lundquist.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff.
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