Trustee proposes changes to weight of SEC wins

USC trustee suggests division triumphs should add up to trip to Atlanta

jkendall@thestate.comJanuary 19, 2012 

  • South Carolina's 2012 schedule

    *denotes conference game
    Thursday, Aug. 30Vanderbilt*Nashville, Tenn.
    Saturday, Sept. 8East CarolinaColumbia, S.C.
    Saturday, Sept. 15UABColumbia, S.C.
    Saturday, Sept. 22Missouri*Columbia, S.C.
    Saturday, Sept. 29Kentucky*Lexington, Ky.
    Saturday, Oct. 6Georgia*Columbia, S.C.
    Saturday, Oct. 13LSU*Baton Rouge, La.
    Saturday, Oct. 20Florida*Gainesville, Fla.
    Saturday, Oct. 27Tennessee*Columbia, S.C.
    Saturday, Nov. 3OPEN
    Saturday, Nov. 10Arkansas*Columbia, S.C.
    Saturday, Nov. 17WoffordColumbia, S.C.
    Saturday, Nov. 24ClemsonClemson, S.C.

As Southeastern Conference officials begin the process of establishing a new scheduling model for the league, one South Carolina board of trustees member wants a new way to rank teams.

Chuck Allen, a lawyer from Anderson who is on the board, has asked Gamecocks athletics director Eric Hyman to support an amendment to the conference rules that would count games against division opponents as one game and games against cross-divisional opponents as a half game for the purpose of determining who plays in the SEC title game.

“I trust you will diligently pursue this change in order to advance the best interests of the University of South Carolina as well as all other member institutions,” Allen wrote to Hyman.

Hyman said he will forward the recommendations to the SEC, which is revamping its scheduling model because of the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M to the league. While the 2012 schedules have been set, the conference is considering options for future schedules.

However, Allen’s plan does not appear to be one of them.

“The philosophy of the league has always been that all conference games are weighted the same,” associate commissioner Charles Bloom told The State via email.

“Intra-divisional games are taken into account differently in tie-breakers for divisional spots in the championship game. I am not aware of those items being on the table for discussion.”

The Gamecocks, who finished 11-2 and No. 9 in the nation, were 5-0 against SEC Eastern Division teams this season but did not win the division. Georgia, which lost 45-42 to the Gamecocks in September, went to the SEC championship game on the strength of its 7-1 overall conference record. South Carolina was 6-2 in the league but both its losses came against Western Division teams Auburn and Arkansas. The Gamecocks also played Mississippi State from the Western Division. Georgia’s three Western Division opponents last season were Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

Under Allen’s proposed system, South Carolina and Georgia each would have had 5.5 “wins” in the SEC (The Gamecocks would get a point each for their five eastern division wins and half a point for its win over Mississippi State, while the Bulldogs would get four points for their Eastern Division wins and 1.5 points total from wins over their three Western Division foes.) South Carolina, presumably, would then have gone to the title game based on its head-to-head win over Georgia.

“It would seem that this formula would be more equitable to all conference members in light of the recent addition of more member institutions, which I understand will alter football scheduling to require 6 intra-divisional games and only 2 inter-divisional games,” Allen wrote. “This would hopefully reduce the fortuity factor potentially resulting from the randomness of any member institution’s inter-divisional schedule.”

The Bulldogs’ 2012 schedule is similarly favorable as they will play Ole Miss and Auburn (both finished the 2011 season unranked) from the West, while South Carolina will play LSU and Arkansas (which finished Nos. 2 and 5).

The conference hopes to have the future scheduling model completed by the spring, Hyman said, although that doesn’t necessarily mean each team’s schedule will be set then. The conference has announced it will keep the eight-game league schedule for 2013.

“While the league wants to conclude in a reasonable timetable, there is no immediate deadline,” Bloom said.

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