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Andy Hodges

SEC shows it wants teams at top to stay there regardless of league balance

Whether there is a football season or not, the SEC shows in schedule juggling they have zero interest in fairness … at least with the Hogs.



Whether there is a football season or not, the SEC showed in the juggling of schedules Friday they have zero interest in fairness when it comes to college football.

Or any respect for Arkansas.

Commissioner Greg Sankey allegedly didn’t do it. He said the league’s chief financial officer, Mark Womack, was going to be handling the scheduling.

What he didn’t say was the league apparently was going to do everything it could to make sure they had one or maybe even two spots in whatever college football playoff might happen.

It was clear, though, the SEC has zero respect for the Razorbacks. Missouri should feel the same way. If you say it doesn’t matter because they probably won’t play any games then you’re making excuses for the incompetence of the league office.

The league issued the additional two conference opponents for teams and gave the Hogs Georgia and Florida — two teams ranked in the preseason in the Top 10 by everybody — to a schedule that already has Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Texas A&M by default.

For a team that would not have a win in the league since 2016 if not for a miracle finish against Ole Miss in 2017 the league appeared to be more interested in keeping wins for teams expected to be strong than general fairness.

Sankey stood by handing out politically-correct statements while a member institution was basically told they want to further stomp on a program that is on the bottom.

Hogs coach Sam Pittman will be positive about it because there’s not really a whole lot for a head coach to say who has never even been able to hold a practice of any big time college football team.

At least Missouri’s coach had a year of being a head coach in a smaller conference.

Hunter Yurachek still has to deal with Sankey so he probably can’t say publicly what he would like to say about the whole deal. That’s college sports politics.

Which is why Sankey will probably either say nothing or a long-winded press release where he effectively says absolutely nothing.

On a weekend where other issues sorta swallowed up the SEC’s scheduling bias, Sankey can completely dodge the whole issue. That may be why the release came so late Friday afternoon.

Sankey doesn’t have to admit Andrew Hutchinson of (who is really the numbers nerd for all of us covering the Hogs) produced a schedule in 24 hours for the entire league that was more balanced.

Yeah, he came up with this using a blank Excel spreadsheet and a little common sense to balance schedules. He’s not some high-priced CFO with a battery of people and computers at his disposal.

That team of geniuses in Birmingham came up with defending national champion LSU getting Missouri and Vanderbilt.

Speaking of the Tigers in Columbia, they should be as upset as Hog fans. They get Alabama and LSU in the whole deal, but then they have Vanderbilt automatically on their schedule, so at least they have that.

Granted, Arkansas’ schedule is bad mainly because they can’t play themselves and have it count. That’s nothing that was caused by the SEC but by the Hogs having incompetent leadership under Jeff Long that dug the deep hole football now finds itself.

It was going to be impossible for the Hogs to avoid getting at least one high-caliber team. Getting two is kinda like kicking a guy when he’s down, which probably shouldn’t be that surprising.

Remember, this juggling of the SEC schedule wasn’t done by Sankey, but the CFO of the entire conference. That’s the guy who oversees the finances for one of the top cash machines in college sports. Feel free to draw your own comparisons.

There are some that will say Arkansas wants to play the best. Several clichés around that, most of them we heard for two years from the previous coach.

Pittman has correctly said the SEC West is the best conference in all of college football. He then adds that’s where Arkansas belongs.

The only way that works out, though, is getting some wins.

Sankey and the SEC made sure that won’t be easy.


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