Nine-game SEC schedule is not a lock

Seemingly because ESPN has not committed to pay more in exchange for more and better inventory.

They may not even settle the schedule issue at all during the Destin meetings. Or there could be some horsetrading before a vote: you vote for nine, we’ll give you easier permanent opponents, that kind of thing.

i am for 9 SEC games each year. It would be good for college football… There are way too many non-competitive games televised that no one cares about. It would be good for the season ticket holder., the fans, and the product of college football. If the schools can squeeze more money into their coffers, it is probably a go.


I am for the 9 game SEC schedule as that should mean more competitive opponents, better attendance/viewership, & more $ to the schools. Only concern that I have is that some of the lesser teams may not have the quality player depth after injuries for the higher intensity SEC competition. That assumes incurring more injuries against higher caliber teams.

I’d prefer to watch 9 SEC games, but there is no doubt that the teams with the most depth have an ever increasing advantage the more truly physical games are played.

All the Cinderellas who pined for a playoff and a “shot” have learned that lesson the hard way. The more games against seriously good teams, the less their chances.

8 games gives Arkansas, year on year, their best shot at making a playoff someday. Not that it will matter, because the very teams that dominate today (the ones with the most depth) will become even more dominate in a 12 team playoff.

The Athletic had a story yesterday in which Greg Sankey strongly hinted, but did not say outright, that he prefers the 9-game option. We’ll see if he starts exerting his influence to get that preference this week. He would also prefer that the decision not be delayed any more.

The good news is that CSP seems to well understand the need for more size, depth, & physicality for Arkansas to be able to absorb injuries & remain competitive thru end of season in SEC play & is therefore moving us in that direction. We will see over the next couple of seasons.

Wasn’t the SEC supposed to announce in May (this month) the schedules, Turkey Day rivalries, & decision on 9 games in response to ut & OU joining in 2024?

Supposed to? Yes. But the decision has not been made. Sankey wants it made this week in Destin. says it will probably be 8 games for 2024, but that could be revisited as soon as 2025. Part of the issue is that ESPN is having cutbacks and may not be willing/in a position to throw extra money at us at the moment.

ESPN/ABC is in a tough spot.

The SEC provides an enormous amount of programming over the various channels and online. There simply isn’t another source that can be accessed to provide that much marketable content. They also are able to take advantage of the fact that the SEC has built out on-campus infrastructure to make it relatively cheap to cover SEC sports. It’s likely that they are going to need to ask the SEC to be a flexible partner that is willing to work on innovative ways to cut costs. The SEC is a lot more likely to do that if ESPN recognizes the need to pay more for getting more.

Sam certainly gets that and is moving us in the right direction. Problem is it’s all relative. Can he get more depth than LSU, Bama, Georgia, TAM, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma…the list goes on. If he can get us into to the top 1/2 consistently in the toughest league, I’ll be happy.

My sense during this recent delay in making a decision (8 or 9 SEC games) - and it’s only a guess, since I have no inside info - is that Sankey (and the majority within the SEC) strongly lean in the direction of the 9 game slate…BUT…only if ESPN is willing to cough up more dough for the increase in inventory of games. So - if this is correct - there has been/is some log-rolling going on with regards to the SEC having “legit” long-term interest in the 8 game schedule in order to exert some leverage on ESPN.

Again, just a gut feel.

If I’m right, I could absolutely see the scenario of an 8 game schedule for 2024 (as time is growing short for planning that season), with the longer term solution being 9 games once the contract details are worked out.

Sankey also made comments about not chasing money with the decision, which you could read either way – don’t change to 9 because the ESPN money isn’t there yet, or go ahead and change to 9 whether the money is there at this moment or not.

I take the attitude that UofA athletics (& academics) can be whatever we want them to be & compete with the best subject to hiring the right people & making smart decisions. We obviously did not always do that in the past.
Currently, in looking at every sport at UofA, I believe that we have hired the best coaches (especially HY), have some of the best facilities in the country, & a devoted fan base.

I agree with everything you said, except for football…unless NIL money buys us depth.

Expect that NIL will eventually be capped so that all schools are on a level playing field & in a similar fashion that NFL caps salaries. Players are now effectively employees. Otherwise, most schools can’t compete & fan support & NCAA sports will suffer. Being in the SEC, being the State school, & proximity to TX works in our favor.

The only way that happens is if they recognize players as employees and collectively bargain such a cap, or Congress gives the NCAA an antitrust exemption. Otherwise, such a cap is illegal. My guess is that other lawsuits currently making their way through the federal courts will force them to recognize athletes as employees and allow them to organize for collective bargaining. The NFL salary cap would be equally illegal if it hadn’t been bargained with the players’ union.

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Agree about players’ union & collective bargaining. College player unions are already being discussed & in process in some parts of the country. Question remains whether NCAA sports for most schools can survive without an NIL cap. Congress may otherwise need to provide an anti-trust exemption.

I would be shocked if that happened. This seems to be a rare issue that unites both sides of the political divide. Basically neither side thinks colleges should be able to continue doing what they’ve done ever since athletic scholarships became a thing in the 1950s. The legislation that has been introduced so far goes more down the path of more for the athletes, not less. Not that I think that’s going to pass either.

SEC teams travel. Most OOC opponents do not. We want 70K+ at each home game. We saw that last year with Cincinnati and Liberty, which is pretty amazing. Missouri State had the added appeal of Bobby Petrino, and they traveled well due to proximity.

Will we have 70K for Kent State? Hope so!

If given the choice between a P5 OOC team - Texas Tech, OSU, Kansas State, BYU - or another SEC team, give me the SEC team. I likely am in the minority, though, as a lot of fans cherish those old SWC rivalries and would be fine with scheduling TCU, Tech, Baylor, etc, one game a season. My caveat there - great game to put in Jerry’s World! OSU as well. I don’t want to lose a game at RRS in an attempt to schedule a P5 OOC team (home and home).

We already have Notre Dame, Utah, Okie Lite and TTech booked for future home and homes through 2033. Will all 10 of those games (four with Okie Lite) survive? We shall see.

My guess is that if they go 9 games, we would try to get the home end of those NC H&Hs in the years we only have four SEC home games. As of now, the home end of all of those is in an odd-numbered year (ND in 2025, Okie Lite in 27 and 33, Utah in 29, TT in 31). So we would try to get the five SEC games in even numbered years.