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Auburn-Georgia Rivalry May Not Survive New Scheduling Model: A Fan’s View
As reported in The Florida Times-Union, the expansion of the SEC may involve a few growing pains. Growth is generally a good thing, and many are happy to see the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri to the conference.
However, adding two new teams will most likely force officials to rearrange the scheduling format for all teams. Essentially, this means each team may be forced to play nine conference games rather than the traditional eight. and there is even the possibility that a few traditional rivalries will be sacrificed—most notably Alabama vs. Tennessee and Auburn vs. Georgia.
SEC directors are to meet in Nashville in late February to discuss potential new scheduling models and perhaps even make a decision concerning the aforementioned rivalries. There are many who would be outraged to see such historical rivalries come to an end, but directors are simultaneously faced with satisfying the needs of the two new teams. Balancing those potentially conflicting needs will no doubt present a challenge, and it is likely that someone will be left unhappy.
As an Auburn fan, I cannot imagine a season in which my favorite team does not face off against the Georgia Bulldogs. It is a rivalry that stretches back to 1898 and should, in my mind at least, be considered an immortal part of the SEC schedule. Likewise, I believe most Alabama and Tennessee fans would agree that the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry carries enough historical precedence to be left in place. Doing away with either of these games might satisfy a scheduling conflict created by the introduction of two new teams, but I believe such a move would do more harm than good. The loss of either rivalry would surely damage the SEC in terms of fan support and perhaps lead to unwanted animosity among fans of existing SEC teams toward the newcomers.
I have a feeling the SEC directors will find a way to accommodate Texas A&M and Missouri without sacrificing either of what many people consider the two most important games in the SEC schedule. Doing so would be in the best interests of everyone involved.
However, when it comes to college football, one can never be completely sure about such things.
Christopher Brown is an avid, almost rabid college football fan. More importantly, he is a fan of the Auburn Tigers, a team that always seems to provide its fans with an unpredictable and even frustrating roller-coaster ride.
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