That the SEC is considering dumping two of its five or so most important annual rivalries in the name of conference expansion isn't quite breaking news. The new part, however, is how grossly specific league suits are being about the futures of the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry and the Third Saturday in October. As quoted by Jeff Schultz, here's Georgia Bulldogs athletic director Greg McGarity, in case you missed it:
"I think if you ask Alabama and Tennessee, like us and Auburn, we'd like to retain the games," McGarity said. "But does that work? What do the other 10 schools think? Those four schools like having those games but there's no other East-West match-up that has that piece of history to it. So I don't where that fits in."
They'd really like to preserve important pieces of conference (and Southern) history, you see, but sometimes forces beyond one's own control (choosing to add two new second-tier members) require sacrifices.
"The other 10 schools" includes four schools who joined the SEC 99 or more years after Georgia first played Auburn and 90 or more since Bama and UT first played. Two of them have yet to compete in so much as a SEC-sanctioned bowling match. Look at Georgia and Alabama and Tennessee and Auburn, so helpless to influence the future of the conference.
Georgia must play the Auburn Tigers every year. The Alabama Crimson Tide and Tennessee Volunteers must play every year. UGA playing the Missouri Tigers instead of Auburn, and Bama giving up the Vols for Texas A&M, would make the SEC less SEC. It's unacceptable.
Let's make sure you understand the context of that quote. The SEC was doing fine and dandy with a twelve-team arrangement. Nobody - at least if by "nobody", you're referring to the people who actually spend the money to watch the games - was screaming for the conference to get bigger. Expansion has happened because people like Mike Slive and Michael Adams have seen their peers in other conferences swinging bigger dicks with their broadcast contracts and aren't happy about that.
And now that they've made a mess of the schedule, they've got to decide who takes the hit, the fans or "the league". Yeah, like that's a tough choice.