Schools playing eight home games this season (2006):
Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Kansas State,
Why am I not surprised three of the eight are from the SEC?
Honestly, it's not even an "SEC" issue with me anymore. It's simply a problem, period. One that needs to be fixed, and one way to come to a solution is to 1)highlight the problem (this post, for example) and 2)bring shame to the schools that are looking for shortcuts.
Does anyone think Georgia suddenly gets off its collective duff and schedules a roadie to a place like Colorado and Arizona State without fans making noise and pointing out that the program's last regular season game outside the historic south was well over 40 years ago? I don't. Somewhere along the line a concerned fan or administrator was able to pass along word to Georgia's athletic director Damon Evans that simple fact (or something similar) and shocked/embarrassed him into action.
I'm particularly surprised at Auburn, given that they took so much heat for their weak scheduling in 2004 when they could have competed in a BCS title game if not for the soft OOC slate. They've beefed up their OOC schedule this year (Washington State, Tulane, Buffalo) if ever so slightly, but have shoehorned eight home games into the same schedule. In fact, they play nine of twelve games in the state of Alabama, and 11 of 12 within the state or bordering states. The Tigers' only extensive travel is to Columbia, South Carolina to play the South Carolina Gamecocks in late September.
Different tactic, same problem: running away from competition and potential losses.
Then I'll shut up.
The great LD adds a few comments and does some fact-checking (sayonara, Memphis and Hawai'i, although both still have a disproportionate 7 home games) in the comments below. He says we need to look at a school's scheduling patterns to see if the eight game slates are a quirk or part of a more troubling pattern.
I buy most of what he says, and am willing to give some grace to Alabama and perhaps LSU. Auburn, on the other hand, you guys simply find ways to look worse and worse. You're my preseason No. 3, act like it!