Sprints Would Like a Nine-Game Schedule and Realignment to Stop. And a Unicorn // 05.23.12

Some day, you're going to regret opposing a nine-game schedule. You probably won't know it.

Looking back at Day One of the SEC tournament and forward to Day Two
Our wrap-up at the first round of the baseball playoff and a preview of what's coming up today.

Official SEC Baseball Tournament page
Just a reminder.

THE STORY THAT NEVER ENDS: CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT

The conference only has one group of Gamecocks, but no shortage of chickens
Will Muschamp is right about this:

"I like the every year playing LSU. I think that's good. I think that's good for the league," he said. "It's two national programs with the recent success we've both had."

But he and most of his colleagues are wrong about the eight-game schedule:

"I think there's enough good teams in our league right now," he said. "It doesn't really matter. There's going to be great matchups week in and week out in our league."

The opposition to a nine-game schedule, which has come from most of the SEC coaches and athletics directors, is one of the mind-numbingly short-sighted things the SEC has done since agreeing not to have a network in its last contract. The SEC is seen as the best conference in college football right now and can probably get by with an eight-game schedule.

But all it's going to take is a couple of subpar years for the SEC before a one-loss SEC champion without a big interconference rival is locked out of the playoff during a year in which teams from the other conferences have nine-game league schedules and maybe an impressive out-of-conference win to boot. It will happen. And instead of addressing the real problem -- which is their own cowardice -- my guess is that the coaches will just call for a larger playoff.

This is a powerful warning
It would be easy to shrug off the complaints of a Wake Forest fan as self-interested griping as it looks like the conference is about to fall apart around Wake. That's not what this is. It's a reminder of something that we've all become too quick to forget in the rush to analyze the television contracts and egos that make all of this go around: This stuff is important to a lot of people.

And while this site has closely and will continue to close monitor the realignment saga, I think it's fair to say that we're not exactly thrilled about what's going on. You can argue that B1G expansion made geographic sense and brought that conference a championship game. Same with the Pac-12. You can even argue that the SEC added two teams in contiguous states in a move that was ultimately a power play but made some sense.

Now, we're talking about national conferences that have no common history or geography or anything to bind them together other than the desire to make money. That's why Boise State and San Diego State are joining the Big East and FSU might join the Big 12, which is also angling to invite Notre Dame. After adding West Virginia.

But the Big 12 and the Big East and the ACC wouldn't be in the positions they're in if the B1G and the Pac-12 hadn't made their moves and pushed the SEC in the direction of making its move, which in turn made the ACC look at raiding the Big East again. So maybe all of us, or at least all of our conferences, are at least a little bit to blame here.

Regardless, conference realignment seems to now be moving to a stage where it is dangerous for the sport. I'm just not sure there's anything anyone can do to stop it.

One more go-round for the Border War?
Maybe, depending on what Kansas and Missouri do in the Big 12 baseball tournament.

OTHER NEWS

What's a five-finger discount between friends?
Sadly, there's nothing all that unusual about a college football player being accused of stealing things. (There is something unusual about ESPN actually citing another media organization for getting a story first, but that's a step in the right direction.) This part of the Cameron Clear story, on the other hand, is a touch out of the ordinary.

Sources told ESPN.com that Clear has been accused of stealing from teammates.

It's hard to see how a player can come back to the team after he's accused of stealing from other players. Derek Dooley is still trying to figure out what to do about this, but it should be a relatively easy call once he finishes his investigation (assuming all this is true).

Florida championship blah blah blah
This one's in women's tennis.

Gametime set for Alabama-Michigan
Because there was a chance you might be doing something else the first Saturday night of the college football season?

This is not acting like you've been there before
Someone with a lot of money and no sense of perspective has given Stanford a "very generous gift" to rename the offensive coordinator position to the "Andrew Luck Director of Offense" position. I guess John Elway and Bill Walsh just weren't impressive enough.

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