Posted by Jerry Hinnen
One South Carolina Board of Trustees member has a proposal to solve the "problem" of his Gamecocks missing out on the 2011 SEC championship game to Georgia, despite beating the Bulldogs head-to-head: make East division games like that one count more than the cross-divisional games that cost Carolina the East title.
That board member, Chuck Allen, recently asked Gamecock athletic director Eric Hyman to request the SEC count intra-divisional games as a full game in the standings and cross-divisional games as only a half-game. If put into practice, the change would have given the 2011 Gamecocks -- 5-0 against the East, but just 1-2 against the West, including a road loss to an Arkansas team Georgia missed -- a trip to Atlanta.
“This (proposal) takes the randomness out of the non-divisional schedule,” Allen told the Anderson (S.C.) Independent Mail. “It doesn’t eliminate it, but it does reduce it. It just seems fair that the team that won all its division games would be the division champ.”
Per Allen, Hyman is expected to pass on the proposal when the SEC convenes to develop a schedule for 2013 and its permanent cross-divisional rotations. Allen (and Hyman) are no doubt just as unhappy with the league's cross-divisional matchups for 2012, though, as they were for 2011, since the projected gap in the difficulty of the Gamecocks' and Bulldogs' respective West opponents has only gotten worse; Carolina will take on the Razorbacks and defending SEC champion LSU (both of which feature in Bruce Feldman's early 2012 top 10) while Georgia gets Auburn and Ole Miss.
“When I talked to (Hyman) his response to me was that he never contemplated it and so he said, ‘Yes, it sounds like a good idea,'" Allen said. "'If you’ll put it in writing (Hyman said), I’ll use it as a vehicle and take it to the conference meeting and we’ll introduce the proposal, argue for it and see what we can do.’”
According to the SEC, though, what the Gamecocks "can do" in the way of overhauling a system that's been in place since the league's 1992 divisional split is "not much." League associate commissioner Charles Bloom said point-blank he does not expect the measure to gain much traction.
“The philosophy of the league has always been that all conference games are weighted the same,” he told The State newspaper.
We're not unsymapthetic towards Allen and Hyman in this situation; it's not entirely fair that the Gamecocks swept the East and still didn't win the division, and it's not entirely fair they've drawn the Bayou Bengals in the SEC's one-off 2012 schedule while Georgia's hosting the downtrodden Rebels. But our estimate of the number of things in college football that aren't entirely fair checks in at a round 8 bajillion, and we doubt Allen and Hyman are going to ask for all 8 bajillion to be corrected.
Eventually, inevitably, the league's cross-divisional rotation and West opponent strength will cycle around to give the Gamecocks an edge over the rest of the East, Bulldogs included; will Allen and Hyman still want to make cross-divisional games count less at that point? We seriously doubt it.
Want more on Gamecocks football? Follow our South Carolina CBSSports.com RapidReports by writer Josh Ward.
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