Mike Strange: SEC status quo schedule keeps Vols at disadvantage

Mike Strange
Tennessee wide receiver Johnathon Johnson (81) catches a pass in front of Alabama head coach Nick Saban during the second half Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.  (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2013

Tennessee wide receiver Johnathon Johnson (81) catches a pass in front of Alabama head coach Nick Saban during the second half Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

So, the upshot of the latest SEC football schedule mandate is this:

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Comments » 37

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

Hart is Bubba Bama Dave. His plan is to destroy Tennessee while helping his buddy Saban win more SEC championships.
Look at the total train wreck in men's athletics, in fact look at how poorly the woman are fairing this year.
The cowards in the president's and AD offices are scared to drop one cupcake game a year to play another SEC game. With season tickets almost one hundred dollars each it is only time before Neyland needs to be shrunk to 50,000 seats. Tennessee athletics is no longer a family value.
The debacle with Coach Martin is just another example of how incompetent Grecian formula Bubba Bama Dave and that idiot Cheek are for Tennessee athletics.
Coach Fulmer beat Bama regularly, remember the good ole days. The mullets probably will have a record on the Vols like UT used to do to Kentucky! 26 straight?
Loserville due to the administration!

oldster writes:

The fans want to keep the Bama "rivalry." I suggest that those fans revisit the definition of the word. When they/you do you will see that the UT-Bama games do not fit the definition.

I cannot understand why false pride demands that these fans insist on seeing their team led like lambs to the slaughter year after year. UT cannot beat Bama this year and probably not for years, if not decades (Oh, they might luck up and win one here and there). Just accept it and let UT get a schedule that is at least as easy as UGA, USC, and/or UF.

Alpha-Snail writes:

Playing Bama every year means virtually never again appearing in the SEC Championship game, much less National Championship. Here's why: As good as CBJ can make us, we'll probably still loose a minimum of 80 percent of those match ups with Bama, and we're years away from even doing that. So each decade, we'll be down one game versus the rest of the very competitive SEC East eight of those years. This will all but eliminate us from contention from the SEC East Title. If we do make it, at least half of those years we would have to play Bama again in the title game. What are our chances of beating them twice in one year? You do the math.

Some may argue that everything is cyclical, and Bama's dominance is no exception. True, there will be some years when their program is down. But the chasm between them and most of the rest of college football, including UT, is so great that we would be extatic to have their worst years!

No, it isn't a rivalry any more. That's ancient history. Instead, it's a concrete road block in the way of Coach Jones dreams. Great job Dave Hart. Way to have his and our backs!

MooseandSquirrelVol writes:

Damn at the sniveling.

JSmith525 writes:

With a couple more recruiting classes like this last one UT should be able to play with and beat anyone in the conference. If you want to be the best you have to play and beat the best. It wasn't that many seasons ago that UT ran off a string of wins against the Bubba's. Some will female dog gripe and complain because they don't want to go see UT play cupcakes then those same "nay-sayer" fans will female dog gripe and complain because UT kept is number 1 rival game on the new schedule. I wish some of you so called fans would go cheer for the Bubba's or Gators or some other team. Cry Babies are basically what you are!

johndavid writes:

Strange bounces back after iffy basketball analysis! This way we are at a disadvantage, a nine game schedule and everbody in SEC is at an equal disadvantage to the rest of college football!

troubleinc writes:

I want to beat Bama, not dodge them. Alabama has always been our biggest rivalry game. I was there in 1982 when we snapped the 11 game skid 35-28, and want to see us snap this streak. Give Jones a few more years and this rivalry will be competitive again.

TNlogfire writes:

Amen, troubleinc....we have never dodged anybody and with Hart and Jones we won't for the forseeable future. Well done, Hart. He knows these things are cyclical.

ModelMaker writes:

I don’t think we should be playing Alabama right now either. I think it would be smart to win a couple of division championships before we play a team like Alabama; I mean after all they are only the best or second best team in the country on a consistent basis year after year. If Tennessee can win their division they will get to play them anyway, you will still have your tradition and it would be allot more fun.
I think Hart is looking at short term buck’s verses what’s best for Tennessee in the long run.

tn10 writes:

Everyone seems to scared of alabama. Until we beat Florida, Georgia and S Carolina regularly we won't be in the SEC championship game anyway. And if we are, we might have a second chance to beat them.

atnvol#283282 writes:

in response to MooseandSquirrelVol:

Damn at the sniveling.

Agree. A bunch of whiners and cry babies. Grow up and get a life and spare the rest of us of your loser mentalities.

SmokeysPup writes:

everyone complaining about Bama every year, are you the same ones complaining about playing Austin Peay and Georgia State. Alabama is very beatable this year. Did you see their spring game. Secondary is questionable and no QB. This is not the Alabama of the last 5 years. Don't forget they have little Kiffie calling plays this year. I can't wait!!!

bUTch__please writes:

Bring it!

I'd say let's whoop 'em on their home turf this year, spank 'em again at the SEC Championship in Atlanta then once more in the 4 team playoff to win the NC.

Go Team #118, 3-0 win streak against Bama in ONE YEAR!!!!

maciste54 writes:

in response to atnvol#283282:

Agree. A bunch of whiners and cry babies. Grow up and get a life and spare the rest of us of your loser mentalities.

100% correct. This sniveling about fairness and equality reflects the nation as a whole. Maybe UT should just get good and beat the trunks off the Elephants. That sounds fair to me.

Snapshot writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

Hart is Bubba Bama Dave. His plan is to destroy Tennessee while helping his buddy Saban win more SEC championships.
Look at the total train wreck in men's athletics, in fact look at how poorly the woman are fairing this year.
The cowards in the president's and AD offices are scared to drop one cupcake game a year to play another SEC game. With season tickets almost one hundred dollars each it is only time before Neyland needs to be shrunk to 50,000 seats. Tennessee athletics is no longer a family value.
The debacle with Coach Martin is just another example of how incompetent Grecian formula Bubba Bama Dave and that idiot Cheek are for Tennessee athletics.
Coach Fulmer beat Bama regularly, remember the good ole days. The mullets probably will have a record on the Vols like UT used to do to Kentucky! 26 straight?
Loserville due to the administration!

For your information Hart was in favor of going to nine conference games. Check your facts next time before running your mouth, moron.

If you don't like UT athletics then stay home and sit on your fat @zz and watch another team. They won't miss your bitterness and whining a bit.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to maciste54:

100% correct. This sniveling about fairness and equality reflects the nation as a whole. Maybe UT should just get good and beat the trunks off the Elephants. That sounds fair to me.

The ones who complain about playing Alabubba are the ones who are afraid of everything else in life. Afraid to compete and are easily hearded into groups who follow and never question. Get off your arses, grow a pair, and take a lick or two on the chin, and believe it or not, you'll grow up. ALL VOL...ALL THE TIME

underthehill writes:

in response to gc_scvol:

The ones who complain about playing Alabubba are the ones who are afraid of everything else in life. Afraid to compete and are easily hearded into groups who follow and never question. Get off your arses, grow a pair, and take a lick or two on the chin, and believe it or not, you'll grow up. ALL VOL...ALL THE TIME

The ones who complain have a brain to complain with..LSU and S Car are complainers..can you not read and understand what you read..LSU has played Fla and Ga a total of 19 times since 2000..Ala has played the same 2 schools a total of 8 times in part due to UT insisting Ala is their rival..this has given bama a huge advantage to win the SEC..UT is no threat to bama and that is not likely to change anytime soon..Auburn is bama's #1 rival..NOT UT..and quoting something bama Dave said as fact is past stupid..look at the evidence and results..

murrayvol writes:

in response to bUTch__please:

Bring it!

I'd say let's whoop 'em on their home turf this year, spank 'em again at the SEC Championship in Atlanta then once more in the 4 team playoff to win the NC.

Go Team #118, 3-0 win streak against Bama in ONE YEAR!!!!

Whoa there big fella. Time to dial it back a bit.

We're at least a year away from that scenario.

allvol8 writes:

in response to bUTch__please:

Bring it!

I'd say let's whoop 'em on their home turf this year, spank 'em again at the SEC Championship in Atlanta then once more in the 4 team playoff to win the NC.

Go Team #118, 3-0 win streak against Bama in ONE YEAR!!!!

I like the way you think GBO!

SummerfieldVol writes:

In my opinion every game UT plays in the SEC should be a team from the EAST, because that is the division they are in. Sorry we would not play Alabama or LSU that is just the way it would work out. We would start a new rival with someone else.

bUTch__please writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Whoa there big fella. Time to dial it back a bit.

We're at least a year away from that scenario.

I found GerryOP's stash. We're going undefeated until proven otherwise.

I know...I know..just a little non-reality based positive visual imagination engineering (If you can see it, you can do it). But that doesn't tote the water stepping off the bus in Norman either.

Vol-in-GA writes:

6-0-2 format is the best for the current era of college football. Currently, we'll see a west team every 12 years, ridiculous. I went to UT when Bama was "the" game, however, it's time to change. It will make those two years, home/away, even sweeter when we see Bama. My guess is in about 5 years they will revisit this and adopt. No, I'm not afraid of "everything in life", or I'm not "sniffling about fairness". Just my humble opinion.

Snapshot writes:

in response to SummerfieldVol:

In my opinion every game UT plays in the SEC should be a team from the EAST, because that is the division they are in. Sorry we would not play Alabama or LSU that is just the way it would work out. We would start a new rival with someone else.

Say what? They do play EVERY team in the East, every year. So you want them to just play a six game conference schedule? That's crazy.

murrayvol writes:

in response to bUTch__please:

I found GerryOP's stash. We're going undefeated until proven otherwise.

I know...I know..just a little non-reality based positive visual imagination engineering (If you can see it, you can do it). But that doesn't tote the water stepping off the bus in Norman either.

Understand.

You may not know that GerryOP actually is an engineer. But he's also a fan.....which is derived from fanatic.....which is an affliction shared by virtually all of us..

ut_man1#1427524 writes:

I remember when Alabama was not even relevant on UT's schedule. Florida was the team we had to beat! I believe two, three years from now. There will be a half dozen teams that could win the SEC including the VOLS

gc_scvol writes:

in response to underthehill:

The ones who complain have a brain to complain with..LSU and S Car are complainers..can you not read and understand what you read..LSU has played Fla and Ga a total of 19 times since 2000..Ala has played the same 2 schools a total of 8 times in part due to UT insisting Ala is their rival..this has given bama a huge advantage to win the SEC..UT is no threat to bama and that is not likely to change anytime soon..Auburn is bama's #1 rival..NOT UT..and quoting something bama Dave said as fact is past stupid..look at the evidence and results..

It's ON...Actually I read and comprehend quite well, Thank You. I also understand as a long time TENNESSEE fan that Alabubba is definitely a rivalry. You should come to understand that if you grow up a TENNESSEE fan you learn to hate all things Alabubba. If you're afraid of something, you challenge it not run away and whine like a little girl. I have seen more than my share of MY VOLS in the past 60 years and I ain't afraid of them. So, we'll improve and soon we'll defeat Alabubba , much the same as life has defeated you and left you hopeless. let's not worry about who's playing whom and concentrate on CBJ making this a top tier program as it was in years past. ALL VOL...ALL THE TIME !!!!!

psychovol2 writes:

in response to TNlogfire:

Amen, troubleinc....we have never dodged anybody and with Hart and Jones we won't for the forseeable future. Well done, Hart. He knows these things are cyclical.

Actually we dodged NC with Dooley only to lose to them in a bowl game.

SummerfieldVol writes:

in response to Snapshot:

Say what? They do play EVERY team in the East, every year. So you want them to just play a six game conference schedule? That's crazy.

That is exactly what I mean. Play the six East teams and then six cupcake teams as they have been referred to. A 8 to 10 win season would look a lot better than a 4 win season. Which one would get you to a bowl game a 10 win or a 4 win record? Bowl games pay a lot of money and is good for recruiting.

fannotsheep writes:

So Mike, is it all about being bowl eligible? I don't think most UT fans want to replace a loss to Alabama with a sure win to sneak into the (insert whatever meaningless bowl you want) at 6-6. Either we get good enough to win the East or we remain mediocre or worse.

I agree that 9 SEC games is more fair as far as intra-division match-ups go but the number of home SEC games needs to be the same for each team. Now you could require one neutral site SEC game and fix that problem.

But if we want to stop playing one of the nations' toughest schedules we need to get out of the nations' toughest conference. Otherwise stop whining and build a damn football program.

underthehill writes:

in response to gc_scvol:

It's ON...Actually I read and comprehend quite well, Thank You. I also understand as a long time TENNESSEE fan that Alabubba is definitely a rivalry. You should come to understand that if you grow up a TENNESSEE fan you learn to hate all things Alabubba. If you're afraid of something, you challenge it not run away and whine like a little girl. I have seen more than my share of MY VOLS in the past 60 years and I ain't afraid of them. So, we'll improve and soon we'll defeat Alabubba , much the same as life has defeated you and left you hopeless. let's not worry about who's playing whom and concentrate on CBJ making this a top tier program as it was in years past. ALL VOL...ALL THE TIME !!!!!

To the contrary..when I was a child..I spoke as a child..grow up and you will get what I mean..it is past childish to live in the past..the current situation at UT playing bama every year when they would not have to if the scheduling was done with fairness in mind is not in the best interest of anyone but bama..you ain't afraid of them because you ain't on the field with them..that's like me saying I wouldn't be afraid to play Tiger Woods..I wouldn't be ..I would love it..but I know what the score would be..I don't like most things bama..including bama Dave..UT pays for his services..bama has his heart..so who do you think he serves..

fannotsheep writes:

in response to underthehill:

To the contrary..when I was a child..I spoke as a child..grow up and you will get what I mean..it is past childish to live in the past..the current situation at UT playing bama every year when they would not have to if the scheduling was done with fairness in mind is not in the best interest of anyone but bama..you ain't afraid of them because you ain't on the field with them..that's like me saying I wouldn't be afraid to play Tiger Woods..I wouldn't be ..I would love it..but I know what the score would be..I don't like most things bama..including bama Dave..UT pays for his services..bama has his heart..so who do you think he serves..

Other teams have beaten Saban you know. Texas A&M, Auburn -- after Auburn lost more games the previous season than we did.

Dodge Alabama if you want to but Florida, South Carolina and Georgia are on the schedule, and you still have 2 west teams so A&M, LSU -- and Auburn who, BTW, played in the national championship game -- will rotate in more often.

We can get back to the level they are on if Jones keeps bringing guys in like he did this year. That's how Fulmer built the team that dominated the SEC in the 90's -- by recruiting great players.

Don't forget we played Miss State in the SEC Title game in '98 and they and Arkansas almost beat us. The SEC is always tough, but the top teams do vary from time to time. We just have to rise back up. We are getting the players. If we get the coaching we will be there soon.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to underthehill:

To the contrary..when I was a child..I spoke as a child..grow up and you will get what I mean..it is past childish to live in the past..the current situation at UT playing bama every year when they would not have to if the scheduling was done with fairness in mind is not in the best interest of anyone but bama..you ain't afraid of them because you ain't on the field with them..that's like me saying I wouldn't be afraid to play Tiger Woods..I wouldn't be ..I would love it..but I know what the score would be..I don't like most things bama..including bama Dave..UT pays for his services..bama has his heart..so who do you think he serves..

Play with kids and you play to their level. A Battle of wits with someone who is obviously unarmed, such as yourself, is just not worth the effort. You'll never understand grownups, so I leave you to your childish babble. Later junior. ALL VOL...ALL THE TIME..

underthehill writes:

in response to gc_scvol:

Play with kids and you play to their level. A Battle of wits with someone who is obviously unarmed, such as yourself, is just not worth the effort. You'll never understand grownups, so I leave you to your childish babble. Later junior. ALL VOL...ALL THE TIME..

amusing way to fall on your sword....I did not consider this exchange a battle of wits..It is not my intention to embarrass you..just an exchange of opinions..

underthehill writes:

in response to fannotsheep:

Other teams have beaten Saban you know. Texas A&M, Auburn -- after Auburn lost more games the previous season than we did.

Dodge Alabama if you want to but Florida, South Carolina and Georgia are on the schedule, and you still have 2 west teams so A&M, LSU -- and Auburn who, BTW, played in the national championship game -- will rotate in more often.

We can get back to the level they are on if Jones keeps bringing guys in like he did this year. That's how Fulmer built the team that dominated the SEC in the 90's -- by recruiting great players.

Don't forget we played Miss State in the SEC Title game in '98 and they and Arkansas almost beat us. The SEC is always tough, but the top teams do vary from time to time. We just have to rise back up. We are getting the players. If we get the coaching we will be there soon.

I agree what you say is reasonable and Jones does appear to be on the way to making the Vols competitive...and is it not also reasonable to see the point LSU and S Car is making that bama has had an unfair advantage with their schedule..I have been for any SEC team winning the Nat'l title..I now would rather see anyone win it but bama..

hateNCloveTN writes:

We will be back (and sooner than you think)
GO VOLS!

Vol-in-GA writes:

Why not adopt a 6-1-2 SEC schedule, and toss out the required "major conference" game? It would preserve the traditional match ups and allow for more frequent competition against the other division teams. To me it seems logical, but hey, when did logic ever prevail.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to SummerfieldVol:

That is exactly what I mean. Play the six East teams and then six cupcake teams as they have been referred to. A 8 to 10 win season would look a lot better than a 4 win season. Which one would get you to a bowl game a 10 win or a 4 win record? Bowl games pay a lot of money and is good for recruiting.

I'm all in favor of bowl games, since the Vols haven't been to any in far too long. However, the majority of bowls these days--and there will be 40(!) next year--don't even pay the travel expenses for a school like UT if they are to take the band, a 90-man squad, and the usual gang of athletic department hangers-on. Most of them aren't widely viewed, either. So yeah, for what they are worth in terms of local pride, the marginal benefits in recruiting, and the significance of a (barely) winning record, bowls are fine. But if a school expects to make real money from one, it has to go to what used to be called the BCS bowls, and that means returning to the truly elite level, where those marginal benefits are far less necessary.

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