Bulldogs Blog

Spurrier pushes for his pet proposal, Saban and others resist

DESTIN, Fla. - Steve Spurrier is standing by his proposal. Mark Richt is remaining even keel about it. And at least two other coaches are against it.

At these SEC meetings, Spurrier is going to propose only counting division games towards deciding the winner of divisions. The South Carolina head coach appears motivated by last year, when his Gamecocks swept the East division but lost twice to the West, and Georgia won the division with a 7-1 overall record.

The proposal is unlikely to be adopted. But Spurrier isn't backing down.

Spurrier began his defense of the proposal on Tuesday by saying that the "most fair" conference he has ever been in was the eight-team ACC, when he was at Duke in the late 1980s.

"Everybody played each other, so it was very simple, whoever had the best record was the champion," he said. "Now with the mega-conferences obviously everybody can't play everybody, and sometimes scheduling might be a reason you win the division or could even win a conference championship."

The benefit, according to Spurrier, would be allowing all cross-division rivalries (such as Georgia-Auburn and Tennessee-Alabama) to continue and make all non-division games easier to schedule.

"Now maybe winning a division is kind of like winning a conference championship," Spurrier said.

Richt, the Georgia head coach, continues to gently disagree with Spurrier.

"I think every man has a right to his opinion," Richt said. "And if it gets changed, good for him, I guess, this year. I don't know if he'd feel that way every year. I think this year he'd probably feel good about it. I don't think it's gonna change. ... "I'm used to what we do. My mind's ingrained that every game counts."

Richt did point out that under current rules, the division games essentially still matter more, because head-to-head and division record are the top tiebreakers.

"The reality is that in our league play, and if you lose to somebody head-to-head or if you beat somebody head-to-head you've basically got a two-game lead on that team," Richt said. "So there is an advantage to that still. It's not like there's no advantage or no difference, there is a difference."

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity didn't mince many words.

"I've never been against an SEC game counting less than other games," McGarity said. "It's the rub of the green. It's who you have that year. But it always evens out. I don't like the idea of saying, This game doesn't matter as that other game in the conference."

At least two other coaches came out against Spurrier's idea, including Alabama's Nick Saban.

"There's no perfect way to (schedule). But I do think you're gonna minimize the importance of these cross-division games if you say they don't count toward the championship," Saban said. "Then we're really not an SEC. We're really juust an East and a West, so why would we even play the games?"

Florida's Will Muschamp is also in favor of keeping the status quo.

"I understand what Steve's point is," Muschamp said. "But to me an SEC game is an SEC game."

Vanderbilt's James Franklin said he didn't have a strong opinion.

"I think it's a valid point where one year you have a reallly strong conference schedule and the next year you don't," Franklin said. "I think it's a valid point, I think it's something that at least needs to be discussed."

And it will be. But it still seems unlikely to be adopted.