[Ed: Bumped from FanPosts]
I'm not trying to steal Eggplant Wizard's thunder, but mdak06 gave me an idea for what I'm calling the "floating schedule." I'm not sure if that is an accurate or terribly descriptive term, but it was the first word to come to mind so I'm going with it.
I like the idea of scrapping the divisions and giving each team a set of protected rivalries while rotating a significant portion of the remaining schedule. The current NCAA rules require a divisional setup with a round robin schedule in order to determine what teams go to the conference championship game. Other rules have received waivers in the past though and so I'm hoping the SEC and any other 14 team conference will ask for a waiver in this area as well. That's probably wishful thinking, but you never know.
As has been covered, the whole idea of the "floating schedule" is to protect important rivalry games as well as ensure that your favorite team is playing all the other teams in the conference on a regular basis. The current divisional structure makes this incredibly difficult to do. The following setup is made assuming that Missouri is indeed the 14th team.
Just to reiterate a few important points:
- This setup relies on adding a 9th conference game. With 14 teams in the conference it makes more sense to add at least 1 more conference game just to make things easier. All the other major conferences are heading towards 9 games as well and so it's going to be harder to schedule good OOC games in the future anyway.
- The participants in the conference championship game would not be 2 division winners as there would no longer be divisions, but the 2 top teams in the conference after the full slate of games.
- Each team will receive 5 protected "rivalry" games every year while the other 4 games will be rotated on a regular basis. When you add up the 5 teams you play every year, your own team, and 2 sets of 4 teams that will be rotated that comes to 14. You can either rotate all 4 of those unprotected games every 2 years or you could rotate 2 of them every year. It doesn't really matter either way because you will play all of the other 8 teams in the conference 2 times every 4 years. That's actually more frequent than we play cross divisional games right now. The current system provides that you play all the other unprotected teams 2 times every 5 years.
- It's pretty much impossible to protect every "rivalry" game that every fan base deems important. There are too many fan bases that disagree with those other fan bases that see the first team as a heated rival. Couple that with the fact that there are some schools like Vandy and Miss St that hardly anyone really wants to play. They have to have 5 protected games as well so some compromise has to be made. The only way everyone could play everyone they wanted to play was if we had a 13 game round robin schedule across the entire conference and that's not going to happen anytime soon so we might as well not worry about it.
- I put together a "floating schedule" with 3 protected rivalries in Eggplant Wizard's post and I think it worked out fine, but 5 protected rivalries should work even better because it will protect even more secondary rivalries. I use the word 'secondary' because I think it is important that each system at least give each school a protected game with the team they consider their most important rival. It's not really fair to throw someone like Vandy's scheduling concerns in the trash while trying to intentionally address the scheduling concerns of others. It's just not how you do business in a partnership.
- Also, just to make it easier on me I'm basing this off the chart I created in Eggplant Wizard's post. There may be a better way to do it that would make more people happier, but I'm just trying to give you an idea of what it would look like. Feel free to point out a better alignment.
I think that covers all the points to keep in mind so without further adieu I give you the 5 protected rivalry "floating schedule."
Alabama plays: Auburn, Tennessee, Miss St, LSU, Texas A&M
Arkansas plays: LSU, Texas A&M, Missouri, Ole Miss, Florida
Auburn plays: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Missouri
Florida plays: Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas
Georgia plays: Florida, Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ole Miss
Kentucky plays: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Missouri, South Carolina, Miss St
LSU plays: Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn
Miss St plays: Ole Miss, Alabama, South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky
Missouri plays: Arkansas, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Miss St, Auburn
Ole Miss plays: Miss St, Arkansas, LSU, Vanderbilt, Georgia
South Carolina plays: Georgia, Florida, Miss St, Kentucky, Vanderbilt
Tennessee plays: Alabama, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia
Texas A&M plays: LSU, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt plays: Tennessee, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, South Carolina
If someone could check my math on that and see if each team has 5 unique games.