Dave Hart: It's 'critically important' Alabama-Tennessee rivalry maintained

AD can't picture SEC without clash

Dave Hart talks about his role as the University of Tennessee's new athletic director during a news conference Sept. 5 at Neyland Stadium. Hart previously was the executive director of athletics at Alabama.

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2011

Dave Hart talks about his role as the University of Tennessee's new athletic director during a news conference Sept. 5 at Neyland Stadium. Hart previously was the executive director of athletics at Alabama.

Given his history with both schools, Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart's favorite installment of the Third Saturday in October rivalry is fitting.

It ended in a tie.

The year was 1965 and Hart was just a high school student. The score was knotted, 7-7, at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., the Crimson Tide had the ball and was driving late in the fourth quarter. Sophomore quarterback Ken Stabler had just scrambled for a big third-down gain, but was short of the sticks. Unaware of the down and

focused exclusively on stopping the clock, Stabler threw his fourth-down pass out of bounds on purpose. UT took over possession and the game was over.

"Anytime games are decided late," Hart said, "they stick in your mind."

But it wasn't the wacky play that sticks with Hart. It was the lasting image of a downtrodden Stabler walking off the field with legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant, who had his arm over his quarterback's shoulder.

"It's one of those (rivalries) that literally gives you chill bumps," said Hart, a former Alabama basketball player and administrator. "Anyone who's familiar with the Southeastern Conference can recite to you plays from you-name-the-year, plays that made a difference, great runs, great defensive plays, players who made a difference and went on to great careers in the NFL.

"Just the tradition, and history and passion that exists in that rivalry is the reason I think it's critically important that we do all we can to maintain that."

That the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry — which will be renewed Saturday (TV: ESPN2, 7:15 p.m.) at Bryant-Denny Stadium — currently carries an uncertain status is just the latest example of the ever-changing landscape of college football.

According to various national reports, Missouri is on the cusp of leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, joining Texas A&M as a new member of a 14-team conference.

From a geography standpoint, it would make sense for Missouri and Texas A&M to settle in the West Division while Auburn, which is already farther east than Vanderbilt, would switch to the East. Unless the SEC adopted a nine-game conference schedule — which is common throughout college football, but a tough sell nonetheless — or places Missouri in the East, that scenario would make it virtually impossible for UT (3-3, 0-3 SEC) and Alabama (7-0, 4-0) to play every year.

With six divisional games, teams would only have room for one permanent cross-divisional opponent and one that rotates. Because Alabama's in-state rivalry with Auburn would likely take precedence over its series with UT, the Vols would be forced to find another permanent partner from the West.

From UT's standpoint, that won't happen until every possible option is exercised.

"We have to do all we possibly can to keep that rivalry in place," Hart said. "Looking back at my time as an athlete in this league, you immediately learn and appreciate and have great respect for that rivalry. The intensity, compassion that exists in that rivalry, there aren't too many other football-playing rivalries and schools who can rise up to the level of the Tennessee-Alabama rivalry."

When Hart served on the Atlantic Coast Conference expansion committee in the early 2000s, the potential loss of rivalries was one of a number of factors considered, he said. And for the most part, they remained intact after the conference added Virginia Tech, Miami (Fla.) and Boston College and split into two divisions.

Other major rivalries in college football, though, haven't been so lucky.

Texas A&M said goodbye to its heated rivalry with Texas when it joined the SEC. Pittsburgh's departure from the Big East to the ACC has put its annual "Backyard Brawl" grudge match with West Virginia on unstable footing.

The Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry that was at its peak in the 1970s and 1980s lost its luster when the teams were placed in separate divisions upon the Big 8 expanding to the Big 12. It was unofficially extinguished when the Cornhuskers joined the Big 10 in 2011.

UT's rivalry with Auburn was diminished when the teams were split into different divisions when the SEC added South Carolina and Arkansas in 1991.

"You reach a point where you can't maybe save them all, so you have to make some choices," Hart said. "Really, where you start with that assessment is the history and the tradition that exists in some of the rivalries we enjoy.

"Everybody has rivalries here or there, but when you're talking about the Tennessee-Alabama rivalry, you're talking about one of the greatest rivalries in college sports."

With Alabama reaching new heights under Nick Saban and UT falling on hard times because of multiple coaching changes, the rivalry has, perhaps, slipped off the national radar at the worst possible time. Alabama has won the last four meetings and all but one — the 2009, 12-10 thriller in Tuscaloosa — were decided by 20 or more points.

Hart said he's "absolutely" confident that the presidents, chancellors and athletic directors entrusted with determining the SEC's future have a firm grasp on the series' historical importance.

UT's players and coaches certainly do.

"It's an important game to both programs," said defensive line coach Lance Thompson, who was on the other side of the rivalry in 2007 and 2008 as a Saban assistant. "Both programs are special and this game is special."

After he exchanges pleasantries with former players at alumni gatherings, senior linebacker Austin Johnson said one of the first questions he fields centers on whether he's "beaten 'Bama yet." At reunions, Johnson said he's seen former players who were on teams that defeated the Crimson Tide asked to stand and be recognized.

Defensive tackle Daniel Hood grew up a die-hard Vols fan, but admitted that he fell into the seemingly ever-expanding group that considers Florida to be the school's top rival. He quickly changed his mind after he and the rest of the team watched the documentary "The Color Orange" with former Vols quarterback Condredge Holloway.

"He talked to us about never beating Alabama and how much that meant to him," Hood said. "I'd hate to see that just go away."

Before he launched into a tirade that included the use of an expletive, Saban said Monday he's "very hopeful" that the SEC's traditions and rivalries are maintained. He admitted, though, that he "didn't really know much about that stuff," echoing what a number of coaches, players and fans have said ever since the future of UT's series with Alabama suddenly became unclear.

"I don't care about conference expansion," Thompson said. "I do care about Tennessee and Alabama. And I doubt that Tennessee and Alabama will ever go away because of conference expansion."

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 69

1bigvolman writes:

This may be the Bama comming out of Hart, he knows it's been an automatic win against every coach we've had except Fulmer.

SGTSpurge writes:

I think there are two likely scenarios in which this rivalry can be preserved (assuming that Mizzou comes to the SEC and expansion halts at 14): first is that Mizzou goes to the SEC E, meaning that Auburn would stay in the SEC W. The second is that you switch to a North-South alignment. In that case, the SEC N would likely end up being Mizzou, Ark, Kentucky, Vandy, Tennessee, MSU, USCe and the SEC S would then be FL, UGA, AU, UA, Ole Miss, LSU, aTm. Now, UT's rivalries with UGA and FL would end up on the chopping block in a N/S alignment, but I think it makes more "geographical" sense than putting Mizzou in the SEC E. I think it really comes down to which rivalries are the "most important" to preserve. Certainly the UT/Ala rivalry has to be a priority. As far as other notable rivalries (AU/Ala, UGA/AU, UGA/UF, MSU/Ole Miss, UT/Vandy, etc), I don't know. But then, by this time tomorrow, this could all be a mute issue, as Mizzou may not decide to leave the Big12, or even if they do, the SEC may snub Mizzou like the B1G did last year.

jawga writes:

in response to SGTSpurge:

I think there are two likely scenarios in which this rivalry can be preserved (assuming that Mizzou comes to the SEC and expansion halts at 14): first is that Mizzou goes to the SEC E, meaning that Auburn would stay in the SEC W. The second is that you switch to a North-South alignment. In that case, the SEC N would likely end up being Mizzou, Ark, Kentucky, Vandy, Tennessee, MSU, USCe and the SEC S would then be FL, UGA, AU, UA, Ole Miss, LSU, aTm. Now, UT's rivalries with UGA and FL would end up on the chopping block in a N/S alignment, but I think it makes more "geographical" sense than putting Mizzou in the SEC E. I think it really comes down to which rivalries are the "most important" to preserve. Certainly the UT/Ala rivalry has to be a priority. As far as other notable rivalries (AU/Ala, UGA/AU, UGA/UF, MSU/Ole Miss, UT/Vandy, etc), I don't know. But then, by this time tomorrow, this could all be a mute issue, as Mizzou may not decide to leave the Big12, or even if they do, the SEC may snub Mizzou like the B1G did last year.

You're dreaming if you think that alignment will ever happen. They're not going to put all those cupcakes in the SEC N. I just hope Slive passes on Mizzou & adds Clemson, FSU or Va Tech.

beaus27 writes:

I trust the SEC powers that be will do what's right for the conference: maintain tradition(s)..

....or FSU or GT could man up and join!

born2ride writes:

in response to SGTSpurge:

I think there are two likely scenarios in which this rivalry can be preserved (assuming that Mizzou comes to the SEC and expansion halts at 14): first is that Mizzou goes to the SEC E, meaning that Auburn would stay in the SEC W. The second is that you switch to a North-South alignment. In that case, the SEC N would likely end up being Mizzou, Ark, Kentucky, Vandy, Tennessee, MSU, USCe and the SEC S would then be FL, UGA, AU, UA, Ole Miss, LSU, aTm. Now, UT's rivalries with UGA and FL would end up on the chopping block in a N/S alignment, but I think it makes more "geographical" sense than putting Mizzou in the SEC E. I think it really comes down to which rivalries are the "most important" to preserve. Certainly the UT/Ala rivalry has to be a priority. As far as other notable rivalries (AU/Ala, UGA/AU, UGA/UF, MSU/Ole Miss, UT/Vandy, etc), I don't know. But then, by this time tomorrow, this could all be a mute issue, as Mizzou may not decide to leave the Big12, or even if they do, the SEC may snub Mizzou like the B1G did last year.

#1 is most likely. Mizzou goes to the East.

The Vols & Auburn keep playing Bama. That puts the 3 weakest teams in the East - Kentucky, Vandy and MO.

But I am not sure they have the votes to get in the SEC. They have never won a Big 12 championship and will have a difficult time winning. Clemson or Florida State are better choices.

troken writes:

I despise Alabama and can't believe Hart is at UT?! Fulmer turned them in for cheating and all I heard here in bammerland was how much the bams hated UT and Fulmer. I hate them more and more everyday and wish nothing but the worst on the bams and wish we would NEVER play them again!!!

77VolFS writes:

Can't see Mizzou ending up in the East. No doubt FSU or Va Tech are better choices but St.Louis/Kansas City TV markets win out - as Dooley says, "it's not about the money, it's about the amount". Even though UT and Bama are passionate about keeping the series, I think the majority of SEC schools would rather see it go away than play 9 conference games. Get ready to see Auburn every year.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

The more I hear from Hart, the more I like him.

FWBVol writes:

The SEC might have to think outside the box to keep some rivalries in place as expansions continues. Unless Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee are in the same division then it seems as if there might be a day when we don't play the Tide every year in football.

There is nothing that says divisions must be drawn along geographic lines. A division with UT, Alabama, Auburn, Vandy, Kentucky, Missouri (assuming it comes to the conference) and South Carolina along with a second division made up of Arkansas, Florida, Georiga, LSU, Miss. State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M could work.

Tennessee would lose Florida, but would keep the Alabama rivalry and Alabama and Auburn would stay in place.

The fact is Georgia and Florida only became annual games after the expansion to two divisions.

LSU and Ole Miss would remain in place as would Arkansas-LSU.

No matter how the conference slices things something is going to be lost.

Vanderbilt and Kentucky would probably raise a stink if the rivalry with UT was removed although the Tennessee rivalries with those schools have been the most lopsided in the conference for years.

Let's face it, with teams flying to most games team travel will have very little to do with how the divisions might be drawn up. The fans will receive little consideration in all of this because the TV people will get the set up they want since they are the ones that now seem to pay the bills.

spacehistorian writes:

I remember the frustration of the annual Alabama game as a kid listening to Tennessee games with my grandfather in the 70's. Bear Bryant & the Tide dominated us and I can close my eyes and relive the joy of finally ending that ugly streak in 1982. Then we had to endure another Alabama streak of dominance until that memorable game at Bama when Peyton led us to that cathartic 41-14 victory starting our own streak. Now it looks like Bama has returned to owning us making another streak of wins that I hope doesn't wind up in double digits. After watching the highs and lows of games with Alabama since the 70's I don't feel the same intensity against them since SEC realignment. Now I look at the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina games as the major clashes on our schedule. Yes, I would love to beat Bama ever year and I love the tradition but if the annual game goes away I won't be too upset. We will just start a new tradition of playing a different conference rival on the 3rd Saturday in October that will be celebrated by our grandchildren 50 years down the road. Who knows... by then the SEC may be up to 24 teams or football may be played on Mars but we will still need to win the SEC East 1st before thinking about everything else.

GiveHimSixMoreYears writes:

Don't know why Hart refers to the 3rd Saturday as a rivalry. As long as Doofus Doolittle is at UT it will be nothing but a beatdown.

Just keep watering that bamboo and watch all our progress. Saban 59 DooLeave 3.

scvols writes:

No it doesn't, we can play Bama like we do other West teams. No one will care after a couple of years.

BigVolinCarolina writes:

I could very well be wrong, but I believe the UT-'Bama annual rivalry is safe. Why do I think that? Not enough SEC President's really want Mizzou in the SEC.

Instead, I believe the SEC will snatch either Florida State, Clemson or Georgia Tech from the ACC. This will be the 14th team, and this will be the "new team" in the East.

AllVol1 writes:

I hate to say it, but the determining factor in which will be the 14th team is all about television market. If Missouri, FSU, and GT are all interested, the SEC will choose whoever brings in more viewers, plain and simple. And that usually means a team from a state that is not already occupied by an SEC team. I would rather see FSU from a competitive standpoint, but I think that is a long shot.

SGTSpurge writes:

I really don't see FSU, GT, or VT coming in. In terms of academics, all three are better candidates than WVU, but WVU does have one advantage in that it is not in a state already occupied by the SEC. WVU is also not in the ACC, which just raised its exit fee and took on two more schools. So, the ACC is now "feeding." Perhaps WVU does end up with the nod, if Mizzou doesn't pan out. They don't bring anything to the table in terms of academics, TV sets, or recruiting grounds, which seem to be the three biggest drivers behind all of this conference shift, most notably the TV markets. I think that Louisville and Cincy could also be "best of what's left" type options, if the SEC ends up going to 16 teams. Eh. Who knows? I hope the Bama/UT rivalry doesn't get sacrificed in all of this. As to the whole N/S alignment that I mentioned earlier, someone said that the SEC wouldn't put all those weak teams in one division. I don't know. USCe has been decent lately and so has Arky. UT will be back. Now, as for MSU, Vandy, and UK, yeh, they are all pretty weak. Mizzou could end up competing, if they can get into the SEC. Let's not forget, being in the SEC would give them a recruiting edge, too.

RustyVol writes:

in response to SGTSpurge:

I really don't see FSU, GT, or VT coming in. In terms of academics, all three are better candidates than WVU, but WVU does have one advantage in that it is not in a state already occupied by the SEC. WVU is also not in the ACC, which just raised its exit fee and took on two more schools. So, the ACC is now "feeding." Perhaps WVU does end up with the nod, if Mizzou doesn't pan out. They don't bring anything to the table in terms of academics, TV sets, or recruiting grounds, which seem to be the three biggest drivers behind all of this conference shift, most notably the TV markets. I think that Louisville and Cincy could also be "best of what's left" type options, if the SEC ends up going to 16 teams. Eh. Who knows? I hope the Bama/UT rivalry doesn't get sacrificed in all of this. As to the whole N/S alignment that I mentioned earlier, someone said that the SEC wouldn't put all those weak teams in one division. I don't know. USCe has been decent lately and so has Arky. UT will be back. Now, as for MSU, Vandy, and UK, yeh, they are all pretty weak. Mizzou could end up competing, if they can get into the SEC. Let's not forget, being in the SEC would give them a recruiting edge, too.

I'm with you on this. West Virginia would be the best choice since they are further East than anyone else. I just don't believe that Fla St. or Ga Tech wants to be in the SEC. As someone else stated on another thread, GT left once before and they don't wanna come back to the meat grinder that is the SEC today.
As long as we're gonna expand why not just go ahead and get Clemson and WVU for the east and Missouri in the west. The UT/Bama rivalry might get knocked out but as long as its gonna take us to catch up it wouldn't hurt my feelings to bad to not hafta play them every year. I do think Dooley is doing a good job but its just gonna take awhile.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to beaus27:

I trust the SEC powers that be will do what's right for the conference: maintain tradition(s)..

....or FSU or GT could man up and join!

That would mean that FSU and GT would have to grow a set. Never going to happen. Heck, we could be 8-4 or 9-3 in the ACC. With a healthy team, we could win the ACC, as long as we could get by Clemson.

CarlChilders writes:

Are nine conference games off the table?

volaholic45 writes:

I hate to say it, but the TN-AL "rivalry" has declined to the level of the TN-Vandy and TN-KY rivalries; you know, those rivalries where one team always gets itself in a bundle about it and once every decade or two actually pulls off a win, and the other team takes extra pleasure in the annual beat down.

The TN-Bama rivalry, while streaky, used to be of the higher quality in which games were generally toss-ups and the overal record fairly even. TN's decline has pretty much killed that kind of rivalry with Bama already.

If the rivalry goes the way of all flesh, there might be some years when you'll have to watch Forrest Gump to see Bama whipping TN. So, there's the upside for TN and its fans.

doh writes:

in response to volaholic45:

I hate to say it, but the TN-AL "rivalry" has declined to the level of the TN-Vandy and TN-KY rivalries; you know, those rivalries where one team always gets itself in a bundle about it and once every decade or two actually pulls off a win, and the other team takes extra pleasure in the annual beat down.

The TN-Bama rivalry, while streaky, used to be of the higher quality in which games were generally toss-ups and the overal record fairly even. TN's decline has pretty much killed that kind of rivalry with Bama already.

If the rivalry goes the way of all flesh, there might be some years when you'll have to watch Forrest Gump to see Bama whipping TN. So, there's the upside for TN and its fans.

This rivalry isnt even close to that level. UT is down right now but will be back. KY and Vandy just suck and will always. Be patient with UT. Those coaching changes have set us back and it is going to take a few years to get any good depth to compete again.

crimsonviper writes:

Good post...That's pretty much how I see it.

Classof72 writes:

Missouri in the SEC? No Bama game for UT? I call it Slive-ball. The conference mascot should be a weasel.

underthehill writes:

in response to troken:

I despise Alabama and can't believe Hart is at UT?! Fulmer turned them in for cheating and all I heard here in bammerland was how much the bams hated UT and Fulmer. I hate them more and more everyday and wish nothing but the worst on the bams and wish we would NEVER play them again!!!

I've asked several supporters I used to consider insiders..but none of them have any idea how or why Hart is at UT..the only thing that may make sense is they say the "big donor" had to approve it..

underthehill writes:

in response to SirSpanky:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You could not be more on target..and that ain't likely to change...

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to FWBVol:

The SEC might have to think outside the box to keep some rivalries in place as expansions continues. Unless Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee are in the same division then it seems as if there might be a day when we don't play the Tide every year in football.

There is nothing that says divisions must be drawn along geographic lines. A division with UT, Alabama, Auburn, Vandy, Kentucky, Missouri (assuming it comes to the conference) and South Carolina along with a second division made up of Arkansas, Florida, Georiga, LSU, Miss. State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M could work.

Tennessee would lose Florida, but would keep the Alabama rivalry and Alabama and Auburn would stay in place.

The fact is Georgia and Florida only became annual games after the expansion to two divisions.

LSU and Ole Miss would remain in place as would Arkansas-LSU.

No matter how the conference slices things something is going to be lost.

Vanderbilt and Kentucky would probably raise a stink if the rivalry with UT was removed although the Tennessee rivalries with those schools have been the most lopsided in the conference for years.

Let's face it, with teams flying to most games team travel will have very little to do with how the divisions might be drawn up. The fans will receive little consideration in all of this because the TV people will get the set up they want since they are the ones that now seem to pay the bills.

I agree, almost.

North: Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Kentucky.

South: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Mississippi State.

Annual rivals are as lined up: UF-Bama, Aub-UGA, UT-USC, Ark-LSU, Vandy-Ole Miss, Mizzou-A&M, UK-MSU.

9 game conference schedule, 2 yr. Home and Homes rotating across other six opposite teams.

underthehill writes:

in response to Whatthehellsgoingonoutthere:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's looking like UT -Vandy may end up being the most important game of year for TN..a must win..

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

in response to crimsonviper:

Good post...That's pretty much how I see it.

I am pleasantly surprised that you found doh's post to be so agreeable. :)

chl1958 writes:

I don't care if we never play Bama-Dama again. I have been beaten up by drunk BD fans in our own stadium. My only fault was wearing my Orange and cheering for my VOLS. At best BD fans impersonate human beings! They literally take the fun out of football!

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to Whatthehellsgoingonoutthere:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Now, that is a scenario that I like. The power would be in the East again. But Florida and Georgia would probably cry if they had to play BAMA every year!

KennesawVol writes:

in response to troken:

I despise Alabama and can't believe Hart is at UT?! Fulmer turned them in for cheating and all I heard here in bammerland was how much the bams hated UT and Fulmer. I hate them more and more everyday and wish nothing but the worst on the bams and wish we would NEVER play them again!!!

Couldn't agree with you more.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to 1bigvolman:

This may be the Bama comming out of Hart, he knows it's been an automatic win against every coach we've had except Fulmer.

When Bama got a real coach instead of all the Mikes, Fulmer didn't fare so well either. Get over Fulmer, he was a big 0 fer against Saban and Meyer.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Hey chl:

Sorry you were roughed up in our own stadium...I don't put up with anyone roughing up any one in any stadium. Hang in there...

Chartervol writes:

I'm about ready to say to hell with it, if for no other reason than to deprive Middle Tennessee antisocial rednecks the pleasure of putting bammer trash all over their cars just to irritate everyone.

volaholic45 writes:

in response to doh:

This rivalry isnt even close to that level. UT is down right now but will be back. KY and Vandy just suck and will always. Be patient with UT. Those coaching changes have set us back and it is going to take a few years to get any good depth to compete again.

Thanks, Homer. I would like to be persuaded first and proven wrong later. But with Bama's current streak at 4 and considering the state of the programs and the probable years required to "become competitive," and then there is the matter of actually winning . . .

Come Saturday night, though, I'll be open to all possibilities. A miracle win would renew the rivalry, give Dooley a badly needed signature win, bump recruiting, offer a reason for optimism in the Big Orange Nation, and give us the rich satisfaction of having screwed up Bama's season in an otherwise crummy year.

AllVol77 writes:

I agree with several other posters that a North/South split may be the way to go if Missouri is added. However, the best way to maintain geographic and rivalry integrity would be a North Division of Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Alabama. South Division of Texas A&M, LSU, Miss State, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Athens, GA is slightly further north than Tuscaloosa, but not by much. Having two SEC schools in the state of Alabama also makes it easy to push them into separate divisions. If you do it this way all the significant rivalries can be maintained, including the Vols/Gators, Bama/Auburn, MSU/Ole Miss, and many others will now become inter-division rivalries.

Some will say that the North will be the weaker of the two divisions and that may create a sense of frustration for member schools in the South division. But back when the SEC was split into East/West the East was the better of the two divisions and Bama was the only annual contender out of the West. We see the same issues every time basketball season tips off and the East is clearly better than the West. Thankfully that is being rectified in the new seeding format for the SEC Tourney in March.

RUstilltalking writes:

Dave Hart is the right person for the job. Which makes more sense that he will get his own Football Coach in here in two or three years after Dooley stabilizes the program.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to beaus27:

I trust the SEC powers that be will do what's right for the conference: maintain tradition(s)..

....or FSU or GT could man up and join!

Even if they wanted to they wouldn't have the votes.

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

Why can some people not get it through their heads that GT, FSU nor CLemson will be invited to the SEC.

The reasons have been written by every sportswriter/blogger in America.

Please let this sink in.....Money and TV drive this expansion. Geography and Ability to win have ZERO to do with it.

RUstilltalking writes:

in response to rbhobbs73#226545:

Why can some people not get it through their heads that GT, FSU nor CLemson will be invited to the SEC.

The reasons have been written by every sportswriter/blogger in America.

Please let this sink in.....Money and TV drive this expansion. Geography and Ability to win have ZERO to do with it.

Thank you! Well said!

xd9x19 writes:

$$$ trumps Tradition EVERY SINGLE TIME, gentlemen. It used to be "traditional" for the UT-AL game to be on the third Saturday in October. No more. Much talk about tradition in college football, but it gets tossed out the window when there's money to be made.

westknoxrepub writes:

It's been established Georgia, Kentucky, Florida and South Carolina are not going to allow Georgia Tech, Louisville, any team from Florida (Florida State being the #1) and Clemson in the SEC. Florida State doesn't want to come anyways, Atlanta is already an SEC town without Georgia Tech, Louisville isn't even an option, and Clemson brings nothing to the table in terms of TV markets (plus consistantly they're mediocre in every sport they play, they just happen to be having a good year this one year).

Despite what some people think, Virginia Tech doesn't bring you alot of new viewers (At best they bring you 1/3 of the DC Market). Plus they're joined at the hip with UVA, who had to fight just to get them into the ACC (they weren't even the third choice, they were what was left) and they're horrible in every sport besides football.

That leaves you with Missouri and Wes Virginia, which is really a choice between a good academic school with medicore athletics or a low ranked academic school with good football and basketball programs. Personally I'd rather have West Virginia, but I wouldn't be too upset with Missouri.

The SEC needs to man up and play 9 conference games a year if they go to 14 teams, because that'll solve the problem right there. Dump the FCS opponents, add the extra divisional game, and this whole thing will solve itself.

stevefrommemphis writes:

Tennessee and Alabama could play a 9th conference game which doesn't count in the standings, if they weren't so hellbent on playing outfits like Georgia State, Akron, and Troy. Florida plays Florida State. Georgia plays Georgia Tech. What's the difference?

RUstilltalking writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

It's been established Georgia, Kentucky, Florida and South Carolina are not going to allow Georgia Tech, Louisville, any team from Florida (Florida State being the #1) and Clemson in the SEC. Florida State doesn't want to come anyways, Atlanta is already an SEC town without Georgia Tech, Louisville isn't even an option, and Clemson brings nothing to the table in terms of TV markets (plus consistantly they're mediocre in every sport they play, they just happen to be having a good year this one year).

Despite what some people think, Virginia Tech doesn't bring you alot of new viewers (At best they bring you 1/3 of the DC Market). Plus they're joined at the hip with UVA, who had to fight just to get them into the ACC (they weren't even the third choice, they were what was left) and they're horrible in every sport besides football.

That leaves you with Missouri and Wes Virginia, which is really a choice between a good academic school with medicore athletics or a low ranked academic school with good football and basketball programs. Personally I'd rather have West Virginia, but I wouldn't be too upset with Missouri.

The SEC needs to man up and play 9 conference games a year if they go to 14 teams, because that'll solve the problem right there. Dump the FCS opponents, add the extra divisional game, and this whole thing will solve itself.

Well said. If they are wanting TV markets, the UNC and NC Sate would be best. The Raleigh Charlotte markets are big. Doubt the ACC would let them go though.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to rbhobbs73#226545:

Why can some people not get it through their heads that GT, FSU nor CLemson will be invited to the SEC.

The reasons have been written by every sportswriter/blogger in America.

Please let this sink in.....Money and TV drive this expansion. Geography and Ability to win have ZERO to do with it.

Because for some reason they want to admit medicore athletic programs that are either in city's already pretty much owned by the SEC (Georgia Tech) or in the middle of nowhere (Clemson)

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to RUstilltalking:

Well said. If they are wanting TV markets, the UNC and NC Sate would be best. The Raleigh Charlotte markets are big. Doubt the ACC would let them go though.

Ideally you're right, but I don't think any of them are going anywhere. The ACC exit fee is a factor, UNC is happy in the ACC because they're a basketball school. The most realistic shot is NC State, but again with the exit fee, and it's much easier to try and rebuild a football program in the ACC than the SEC. Virginia Tech is the most realistic SEC candidate, even without a TV market and below average athletics outside of football, I just don't want them here because they don't add anything to the SEC.

underthehill writes:

in response to RUstilltalking:

Dave Hart is the right person for the job. Which makes more sense that he will get his own Football Coach in here in two or three years after Dooley stabilizes the program.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion about Dave Hart being the right person for the job and that opinion appears to be shared by whoever (probably big donors) made the decision..I could not disagree any more than I do..I think this is an insult to TN fans to have bama folks take over the athletic dept..I would much prefer someone with ties to the University of TN...now tell me..what do you think the bama fans would do if something like this happened there? no use to ponder this because it never would...

RUstilltalking writes:

in response to underthehill:

You are certainly entitled to your opinion about Dave Hart being the right person for the job and that opinion appears to be shared by whoever (probably big donors) made the decision..I could not disagree any more than I do..I think this is an insult to TN fans to have bama folks take over the athletic dept..I would much prefer someone with ties to the University of TN...now tell me..what do you think the bama fans would do if something like this happened there? no use to ponder this because it never would...

Dave Hart hasn't been at Alabama his whole career. He was FSU and I am pretty sure ECU before Alabama. This is just a job to him. He is just making a living. So the whole thing about him being a "bama folk" is way over played. He worked at Alabama because it was a good job and it paid well. That's it. Nothing else. There is no emotion involved. This is his career and when you are making a career for yourself you don't pick teams or sides. You are there to do a job and do it to the best of your ability. I speak of experience in this category considering my wife is in coaching in Div.I athletics and both of us played at the Div. I level in college.

To answer your question they would hire from TN if they could. Probably wouldn't happen at the AD level like it did with UT but at lower levels. It is just the way the business is.

RUstilltalking writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Ideally you're right, but I don't think any of them are going anywhere. The ACC exit fee is a factor, UNC is happy in the ACC because they're a basketball school. The most realistic shot is NC State, but again with the exit fee, and it's much easier to try and rebuild a football program in the ACC than the SEC. Virginia Tech is the most realistic SEC candidate, even without a TV market and below average athletics outside of football, I just don't want them here because they don't add anything to the SEC.

Yes it would be a major stretch for UNC and NC STATE to come to the SEC. I totally agree. Plus it would be hard to see Va.Tech in the SEC as well.

cooper65#432178 writes:

Texas A&M has great tradition and may give us better access to Texas recruits, I don't see an upside with Missouri. I think it would be better to pick off a team in the East from the Big East conference which has no business with a BCS Bowl birth. They may be great in BB, but are dead in FB. West Virginia or South Florida would be better than Missouri.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to underthehill:

You are certainly entitled to your opinion about Dave Hart being the right person for the job and that opinion appears to be shared by whoever (probably big donors) made the decision..I could not disagree any more than I do..I think this is an insult to TN fans to have bama folks take over the athletic dept..I would much prefer someone with ties to the University of TN...now tell me..what do you think the bama fans would do if something like this happened there? no use to ponder this because it never would...

We haven't had a "Tennessee Guy" in here in a while. If you count Dickey though, he did single handedly destroy our basketball program.

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