The SEC voted to remain at an eight-game conference schedule and the decision has sent ripples through the college football world, especially the west coast where several Pac-12 coaches took exception to this vote that could disrupt the fairness of the College Football Playoff.
Stanford head coach David Shaw on the SEC not playing a nine-game schedule:
“I’ve been saying this for three years now: I think if we’re going to go into a playoff and feed into one playoff system, we all need to play by the same rules. Play your conference. Don’t back down from playing your own conference. It’s one thing to back down from playing somebody else. But don’t back down from playing your own conference.”
The Pac-12 plays a nine-game conference schedule as does the Big 12 and the Big Ten is headed to a nine-game format in 2016, so Shaw wonders why the SEC can’t do the same thing considering the sport is moving in the direction.
“There’s no taking away anything that LSU and Alabama and Auburn recently have accomplished,” Shaw said. “They’ve been phenomenal. My take is to say, ‘OK, the rest of us are playing our conference. We’re playing nine out of 12 teams in our conference. Why can’t you do the same thing?’
UCLA Bruins head coach Jim Mora shares the thoughts of Shaw and would like to see a shared set of rules so everyone is playing on as even of a playing ground as possible:
“I would like to see everybody operate under the same set of rules or restrictions or regulations or whatever word you want to throw in there,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said. “I think the Pac-12 is an incredibly competitive conference. I look at the teams that make up this conference and I think anybody can beat anybody on any given week. I think the same can be said for the SEC. And yet we play nine games against each other. I like that. I think we like that as a conference and I think we take pride in that because we’re interested in competing against the best week in and week out. We try not to schedule too many patsies.”
Others such as Washington State head coach Mike Leach, Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez, Oregon’s Mark Helfrich and Washington’s Chris Peterson shared similar beliefs of Shaw and Mora but recognized they really can’t do anything about it until it’s a requirement and the SEC is “clever” and it’s to their advantage not to play a ninth game.
The Pac-12 coaches are right about each conference playing under the same set of rules and there should be some uniformity, but until it’s regulated, the SEC isn’t going to play a ninth game because they’ll counter by saying their conference strength of schedule is tougher than any of the other power conferences.
[Quotes from Kevin Grammel of ESPN.com.]