I also think the change would be a good thing for fans, who would rather see their team play another good opponent instead of a matchup with a I-AA team or some other opponent that will produce a lopsided, sure win that is of little interest to anyone other than teams on the bubble of qualifying for a lower tier bowl.
I believe if a team isn't good enough to win three SEC games it doesn't have any business playing in a bowl. And, from a business standpoint, there is probably more money to be made by playing another good conference game compared to the money a team and the league could make with an extra team making a low payout bowl trip.
With the new SEC Network on the horizon it makes sense for the league to replace some of the bad games on the schedule with much better ones to make that network's offerings a more attractive option for potential viewers. The TV audience is not going to get fired up to see a Southeastern Conference team play Southeast Louisiana, UT-Chattanooga or similar opposition.
Of course, changing from eight to nine conference games would mean major reworking of the schedules, but that is something the league has done numerous times in the past and could do again.
At the same time the league needs to move Auburn to the SEC East where it belongs geographically and move Missouri to the SEC West to compete against its natural rivals Texas A&M and Arkansas. Most Auburn people I know would rather make road trips to Knoxville and Gainesville than College Station, Tex., or Fayetteville, Ark.
By moving Auburn to the SEC East the league would get back, on an annual basis, two really good traditional rivalry games--Auburn vs. Florida and Auburn vs. Tennessee. Both of those contests would be very appealing for the fans and the TV folks.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.