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Berry Tramel

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College football scheduling: Developments on the front

by Berry Tramel Modified: May 30, 2013 at 5:55 pm •  Published: May 30, 2013
Texas Tech is one of a few teams that's beefed up its nonconference schedule recently. / AP photo
Texas Tech is one of a few teams that's beefed up its nonconference schedule recently. / AP photo

Some interesting developments on the college football scheduling front in the last day or so:

* Texas Tech and Arkansas have agreed on a home-and-home series for 2014-15.

I’ve been on the Red Raiders enough for their scheduling, that it’s only proper to laud them for the upgrade.

Tech has not played a non-league opponent from a fellow major conference since playing North Carolina State and Ole Miss in 2003. That’s a full decade of patsies.

It’s high time Tech got back in the business of playing real football in September.

And kudos to Arkansas, which once traveled that path but has left it. The Hogs had a slight hiccup in 2012-13, with Rutgers serving as the best non-conference foe, but in the last decade and in the future, Arkansas is making a quasi-reunion tour of old Southwest Conference rivals. Texas for four games in the 2000s, Texas A&M (before the Ags joined the SEC), TCU in 2016-17 and now Tech.

* The SEC coaches and athletic directors voted this week to keep their conference games at eight – the vote was 13-1, with Nick Saban casting the lone dissenting vote.

The bad news: the SEC is stuck at eight conference games for a few years.

The good news: coaches have been exposed. They like to talk about competition when it comes to their players; they don’t like to put it into practice when it comes to themselves. And this isn’t to pick on the SEC. It’s the same in every league. The Big 12 would play fewer league games if we left it up to the coaches.

The best news: No coach expects their vote to last long.

“Personally, I think we’ll end up moving to nine (conference) games eventually,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “My personal opinion (is) you create an SEC Network, at the end of the day, it’s going to be driven by the dollar, and having those games is going to be important, and having enough quality games on television promoting a nine-game SEC regular season, in my opinion, will eventually happen.”

* Meanwhile, Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads told the Des Moines Register he wants each conference to play the same number of league games.

“What I want to see is, regardless how many teams you have in your league, everyone playing the same number of games,” Rhoads said. “That’s what I want to see. Let’s all play the same number of league games. Let’s be uniform with that part of our scheduling.”

Uh, I don’t think you want to go down that road, Paul. The Big Ten plays eight conference games with designs on eventually moving to nine, the ACC plays eight, the SEC plays eight and the Pac-12 plays nine. But all four of those conferences have a league championship game. The Big 12 does not.

Or maybe Rhoads does want to go down that road. Clearly the easiest way for Iowa State to win a league title – and Kansas State, too, though the Wildcats did it the hard way in 2013 – is to form a weaker North Division, win it and then take their chances in a one-game playoff.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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