Spurrier's plan for division play not happening
Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 11:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 11:41 p.m.
It has no chance.
I've got a better chance of sneaking a fastball past Josh Hamilton. If there was a museum dedicated to things that have no chance, it would have its own wing. It's more likely that Sacha Baron Cohen will win his first Oscar before Meryl Streep wins another.
I'm saying it has no chance.
But it's still worth a dialogue.
Steve Spurrier started the ball rolling as he often does. Les Miles has joined in, and earlier this week James Franklin made it a trio. I'm sure Kevin Sumlin and Gary Pinkel will be briefed in Destin at the end of the month when the SEC holds its annual spring meetings.
It probably won't occupy a lot of time in those meetings because it has no chance.
Spurrier wants the league to only count games played against teams in your division. His argument — and it's a sound one — is that the way the schedule sets up now is not fair.
It's not. Never has been. And last year it bit his South Carolina team right in the behind.
The Gamecocks had to play an Arkansas team that finished the season ranked fifth in the nation. Spurrier's alma mater, meanwhile, had to play both Alabama and LSU. Georgia played none of those teams and won the Eastern Division.
Fair? Of course it's not fair. It's not fair this year either that Georgia avoids the Big Three of the West, although we're not sure how much a motorcycle accident has damaged one of those three.
But it's just the way it is and it's just the way it's going to be forever.
When Spurrier made his declaration about bringing his proposal up for discussion, people thought he was being goofy. He wasn't being goofy. He was being Spurrier.
You have to understand this about him — no matter what it is he's dealing with, he believes in fairness. You had better count all your strokes on the golf course, and he'll let you know when it's his serve in ping pong.
So when he sees something that isn't fair, he's going to speak out about it.
Even if it has no chance.
Already, Nick Saban has said he doesn't like the idea and neither does SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. That's like Ringo trying to convince The Beatles to try an idea that John and Paul are against.
They'll talk about it in Destin. As Slive has said many times, “The democratic process will be alive and well.”
There are many reasons why it has no chance. Florida coach Will Muschamp told me, “I have a hard time with an SEC game not being an SEC game.”
And in the end, you can't tell your television network partners that the package they are paying millions for has been devalued.
“Hey, CBS, ESPN. While you're trying to decide which game to pick on Oct. 6, just wanted to let you know something. That LSU-Florida game in The Swamp? Doesn't count. Just a non-conference game. And the following week when South Carolina goes to Tiger Stadium? Same deal. No more important than Wofford.”
Now as Spurrier pointed out to me Wednesday night, “You think LSU-Oregon didn't mean anything? Every game goes on your record.”
True. It just wouldn't be as big.
There's also this — the BCS commissioners have been hanging onto the “every game counts” mantra for so long and have finally decided to have a playoff. That's going to slightly reduce the importance of the regular season. The Spurrier Plan would take a divot the size of Montana out of it.
The SEC is what it is because it has the best players and best coaches. But it's also those cross-division games that are a big factor in weeding out the pretenders. There's not an athletic director in the conference who would diminish the importance of a visit from LSU or Alabama to his stadium.
Unfortunately, sports isn't about fairness. Something happens every week to remind you. Three fouls on them, and 15 on us? Why do I always seem to get the tee times when the wind is blowing? That ball was out for a grand slam if we were playing anywhere else.
Just the way it is.
(Of course, Spurrier reminded me that last year in Destin he proposed paying the players $2,000 each for expenses and after it was dismissed it became a major talking point and remains one today. “I have a new plan for them this year,” he said. “I used to say they bring in millions of dollars, but now I can say billions.”)
This whole thing reminds me of a Florida-FSU game in Gainesville in 1999 when a lemon was thrown on the field and helped the Seminoles run out the clock. Spurrier was asked what the officials told him.
“They said it was rub of the green,” he said. “Rub of the green, my fanny.”
If you don't know that golf term, it simply means “those are the breaks.” I'm pretty sure that's what they're going to tell Steve in Destin.
Rub of the green.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.