Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Cold Hard Facts

As a follow-up to the last post about the SEC's hyper-regionalism, here's a little bit of research I did over at CFB Data Warehouse to further illustrate my point. I took the twelve member teams of the SEC and flipped backwards through their schedules, not stopping until I found three road games that they have played that were outside of the states with SEC schools in them (AL, AR, FL, TN, KY, SC, GA, MS, LA, specifically). The table below shows how many games each team played in their home state in the duration it took them to accumulate three out-of-region road games.

Just to clarify, I did not count games in North Carolina since, for the purposes of this analogy, it does not qualify as an out-of-region game. Also, forget about counting games in Hawaii. I will not reward a team for taking an all-expense paid vacation to a tropical island. Bowl Games, too, do not factor in, as these aren't scheduled contests. Finally, games in Texas did not count. For one, Arkansas previously played in the now-defunct SWC, and most of the members were Texas schools. Since Texas is an adjoining state and therefore hardly an out-of-region team, plus out of fairness to teams with traditional rivalries in Texas, the state was not counted. Don't bother complaining about my rules, I made them, and that's how it's gonna be.

Team
# of Home-State Games
Road Opponent (Year) (Result)
The (relatively speaking) Ramblers

LSU
27
Arizona State ('05) (W)
Arizona ('03) (W)
Virginia Tech ('02) (L)
(2-1)

Kentucky
28
Indiana ('05) (L)
Indiana ('03) (W)
Indiana ('01) (L)
(1-2)

Mississippi State
52
Oregon ('02) (L)
BYU ('00) (W)
Oklahoma State ('98) (L)
(1-2)

Vanderbilt
56
Navy ('01) (L)
Middle Tennessee State (at Valparaiso, IN) ('01) (L)
Northern Illinois ('97) (W)
(1-2)

Tennessee
58
Notre Dame ('05) (L)
Notre Dame ('01) (W)
Syracuse ('98) (W)
(2-1)

Auburn
64
USC ('02) (L)
Syracuse ('01) (L)
Virginia ('97) (W)
(1-2)
The Isolationists

South Carolina
111
Virginia ('02) (L)
West Virginia ('91) (L)
Virginia Tech ('90) (W)
(1-2)

Alabama
114
Oklahoma ('02) (L)
UCLA ('00) (L)
Penn State ('89) (W)
(1-2)

Florida
178
Syracuse ('91) (L)
Rutgers ('86) (W)
USC ('83) (T)
(1-1-1)
The Unbelievable Xenophobes

Arkansas
204
USC ('05) (L)
Oklahoma State ('78) (W)
Oklahoma State ('75) (L)
(1-2)

Ole Miss
215
Wyoming ('04) (L)
Notre Dame ('85) (L)
Missouri ('73) (L)
(0-3)

Georgia
282
Virginia Military Institute ('66) (W)
Michigan ('65) (W)
USC ('60) (L)
(2-1)


Observations & Snark
  • First and foremost, please forgive any slight inaccuracies. It was late when I put this together and it was really, really late when I finished. If I missed something or made an error, politely inform me in the comments and I'll update the table (and I might clear out your comment, for the sake of clarity).
  • The last time Florida played outside of the South was when they had a fresh-faced young go-getter named Steven Orr Spurrier who was coaching in his second season at Florida. I'll give the Gators the benefit of the doubt, since they have two very competitive in-state rivals in Miami and Florida State that they have filled out their schedules with, unlike some of the other cannon fodder that's trotted out by other schools (in all conferences, really). But still, the hyper-regionalism point still stands. The Gators have played 113 games in the state of Florida since the last time they stepped out. Let's expand those horizons, fellas.
  • 1966. That's the last time Georgia wandered out of SEC territory to play some football, where they briefly wandered up to Virginia to pound the everloving snot out of the Keydets of VMI. Think about all that's happened since 1966. The moon landing, the Watergate scandal, and the rise and fall of Bananarama. Simply stunning.
  • I would love to see more SEC teams on Notre Dame's schedule. There will be some great matchups, and it will give the SEC a chance to even out the record, which is a pretty lopsided 21-12 (.656) in Notre Dame's favor right now.


Conclusions
There's nothing wrong with regionalism. In fact, the fierce competitiveness in the fishbowl that is the SEC is part of what makes it such a great and passionate conference. At the same time, college football is an increasingly national game, and in the best interest of the fans and the sport in general, there needs to be an increase in intersectional games. Think you're the best? Prove it out on the field.

Seacrest Out.

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