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SEC Commissioner Sees Only Upsides to Intersectional Games

Saturday, September 1, 2007 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 5:23 PM, under , , ,

Athens, GA (Sept 1, 2007) - This year has brought a radical change to the scheduling of big-time college football games. Prior to the current season, which is kicking off this weekend, schools could only play eleven regular season games for the most part. If they chose to play against a Division 1-AA school, they could only do so every few years and not have the game be discounted in their hope for a post-season bowl game.

This year schools can play a twelve game schedule. This is opening up whole new possibilities for scheduling. Teams like the University of Georgia and Oklahoma State University, who are playing tonight in Athens, GA would have been unlikely opponents in prior season regular games. The reason came down to finances, as schools like these wanted to have a guaranteed six home games a year. To have teams play like these two are tonight would require they play a home and home agreement. That meant that one of those schools would not play six home games in a given year. That was not going to happen.

With twelve games in the regular season now, games like this are easier to schedule. ESPN helped to match up these two teams, and there will be more in the future. "We encourage our teams to play these games," says SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. "It is great for our fans, giving them games they want to see. It is also great for our TV package."

But a big question looms. What are the risks of games like this? You have to look no further than Ann Arbor, Michigan today, as Appalachian State University stunned the University of Michigan 34-32. When asked how losses in games like these could hurt the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) hopes of teams in the rugged Southeastern Conference (SEC), Slive says "Of course we want to win these games. The fact that we are playing quality teams does nothing but help our strength of schedule."

This weekend's SEC intersectional schedule is a good illustration of what the Commissioner sees. Not only is there the Oklahoma State - Georgia matchup. Auburn is hosting Kansas State, and Tennessee is out west playing California of the PAC 10 conference.

One thing is for sure, the 92,000+ fans at Sanford Stadium in Athens, GA tonight are enjoying an opening season game between two powerful football programs. They are also hoping that UGA Coach Mark Richt continues his unbeaten record at home against non-conference opponents, something that may be harder to do with the new schedules.

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