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Anchor Drop, May 31, 2023: 87 Days to Kickoff

About that nine-game SEC schedule...

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Vanderbilt Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning.

Optional Musical Accompaniment

We are now 87 days away from Vanderbilt football’s season opener against Hawaii. 87 for the Commodores is wide receiver Daveon Walker. The 6’2”, 180-pound redshirt freshman from Warner Robins, Georgia, did not play last season. (Pictured above: Jordan Matthews, but you knew that.)

No Vanderbilt news today, so... well, let’s talk about the topic in the news. Because frankly, I don’t get it.

Um, what? Do the right thing?

First of all, the SEC is absolutely right to stay at eight games if their partner networks (read: ESPN) won’t increase the schools’ payouts. As I pointed out the other day, there’s likely going to be a revenue hit to the schools from losing a home game in the years that they play five conference road games; there are also by definition going to be fewer bowl-eligible teams and thus bowl payouts. These are real concerns, and if the media wants the league to play more conference games, guess who should pony up for that?

But the “more great games” argument falls flat. Yes, expanding to a nine-game conference schedule would mean more intra-SEC games, but think about what those games will likely replace — because SEC teams aren’t going to stop scheduling FCS teams or New Mexico State. What the ninth conference game will probably replace is the out-of-conference Power 5 requirement — in other words, it’s just substituting a game against a Big Ten or Big 12 team for an SEC game.

The language employed here is frankly weird. But there is also this.

Is it possible that we’re actually coming up to the endgame of conference realignment? Realignment has always been driven by television money; what happens if the television networks say “nah, we’re good”? The super league certainly has its proponents, but nobody can answer whether that proposal (in whatever form) would actually be more lucrative for current SEC and Big Ten schools than their current situation. Yes, it’s probably going to be more lucrative for the Florida States and Clemsons compared to sharing a conference with Georgia Tech, and this was sort of why the big soccer clubs in Spain and Italy were the ones who really, really wanted to do the European Super League while the English sides got out at the first sign of trouble. One group needed the super league and the other didn’t, and the latter wasn’t about to harm their own bottom line to bail out some other teams stuck in domestic leagues they consistently dominate.

Sports on TV

All times Central.

  • 12:00 PM: MLB: Rangers at Tigers or Angels at White Sox (MLB Network)
  • 6:00 PM: MLB: Phillies at Mets or Brewers at Blue Jays (MLB Network)
  • 6:10 PM: MLB: Reds at Red Sox (ESPN+)


MLB: Padres 9, Marlins 4 ... Rangers 10, Tigers 6 ... Orioles 8, Guardians 5 ... Blue Jays 7, Brewers 2 ... Reds 9, Red Sox 8 ... Mets 2, Phlilies 0 ... Cardinals 2, Royals 1 ... Cubs 2, Rays 1 ... White Sox 7, Angels 3 ... Astros 5, Twins 1 ... A’s 2, Braves 1 ... Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 1 ... Yankees 10, Mariners 2 ... Pirates 2, Giants 1 ... Dodgers 9, Nationals 3.