KERRYON JOHNSON (PHOTO BY JASON CALDWELL)

Dye-Gest: A Change to Improve Southeastern Conference Football

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about Auburn and SEC football in this edition of his Dye-Gest column.

Kerryon Johnson (above) and his Tigers will try to win the 2017 SEC championship coming out of the league's western division.

I know there are some changes going on in college football with new rules and rules under consideration. However, nothing that I have read about is going to have a major impact on how the game is played on the field in the Southeastern Conference.

I noticed that Coach Gus Malzahn isn’t really excited about the early signing period that was recently approved. I can understand what he is saying, but I don’t necessarily think it will be a bad thing for the Tigers, especially with in-state kids the Auburn coaches really want who are ready to get recruiting done in December of their senior years.

There has also been discussion on changing from an eight-game to a nine-game SEC football schedule, something I have been totally in favor of for many years.

First of all, I think it would be good for season ticket sales around the league and for putting people in seats in stadiums. When SEC teams play non-conference opponents like Louisiana-Monroe, no matter what program we are talking about, there are empty seats during those games. Adding an extra SEC game would make the season tickets more valuable.

The SEC commissioner has not been supportive of the change. He said it would give league teams seven more losses and impact the number of SEC teams going to bowl games. If a team can’t win three conference games and three out of conference games it really doesn’t deserve to be going to a bowl game. Those coaches would be better served to be out recruiting and working on getting their own program straightened out.

Nine games would also open the door to move Missouri to the SEC West and Auburn to the East. It has never made sense to me that Auburn is in the West. The switch would allow Auburn to continue to play Alabama and resume its traditional rivalries on an annual basis with Florida and Tennessee in addition to playing Georgia and Alabama.

It wouldn’t be easy on the Auburn coach playing those games and I know because I have been there and done that, but I do think the players and fans would love to see their Tigers  playing those teams. Those would also be great matchups for television. There would be at least four big regular season games every year on the Auburn schedule and it doesn’t get any better than that.

There is not one good thing you can say about Missouri being in the East, which doesn’t make sense geographically. I think the switch would be good for the SEC, but I am not optimistic it is going to happen.

However, the league is doing a lot of good things. In my lifetime I don’t believe the Southeastern Conference has ever been as good as it is right now when looking at all of the sports if sponsors. There is no better example of that than softball with all 13 SEC teams receiving bids to the 64-team NCAA Tournament.

Those of us who really enjoy the sport are in for a treat with those regional games on television this week. It is a fast-paced and entertaining game and has become very popular at Auburn. The Tigers get started on Friday on what they hope will be another run to the College World Series in Oklahoma City and if you haven’t watched you are missing a treat because these players compete hard and do it with passion.

2017 Inside the Auburn Tigers Football Guide

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