Years ago, the SEC came up with the radical idea of splitting conferences into two divisions, crowning a champion from each, and then playing one game to determine the outright conference champion.
Many other conferences have since adopted that idea and it has become the norm in college football.
However, ESPN’s Edward Aschoff recently wrote a feature article on why the conference should consider abolishing divisions in the conference. He is clearly not a fan of the current 6-1-1 format, which allows for six division games, one permanent rivalry game, like LSU-Florida or Auburn-Georgia, and one game that switches every few years.
Because of that, Aschoff wants to change that drastically by lumping all 14 teams into one division and letting the two best teams face off in the title game.
Aschoff writes: “I love traditional division rivalries so much that I think the league is bleeding real conference rivalries dry with its silly format. Nine conference games aside, the 6-1-1 conference scheduling model (one permanent and one rotating opponent in the opposite division) does no one any favors. It’s bad for the players, bad for the fans and really leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to league play.
“Without divisions, Florida could keep Georgia, Tennessee and LSU (the current permanent West opponent) on its schedule, and add Auburn. The Tigers could keep Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, and add Florida.”
If you took the best two teams from the conference each year, it is likely that two rival opponents could meet up in the conference championship game. Could you imagine having TWO Iron Bowls in one season?
That would have happened in 2013, by the way. It would almost take away from the magic of the rivalry with one fighting for an almost guaranteed spot in the College Football Playoff.
Asking Auburn and Alabama to play twice in the same year would be like asking Ohio State and Michigan to do the same. It just doesn’t really feel right.
The SEC started divisions and conference championship games in college football nearly a quarter of a century ago. It has worked out well for them so far, so I don’t think it is going anywhere at this point.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports