BIRMINGHAM, AL – Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive ended the league’s Spring Media Day by announcing the conference would begin preparations to officially phase out the Pacific-10 by the 2012 season.
Slive stressed that the change “would not happen overnight” and that players, coaches and fans needed to be patient.
“We’re working on this thing to get it right. It’s gonna happen, but not immediately. We’ve been taking steps in this direction for decades. The groundwork is there. We just need to see it through to its proper conclusion,” said Slive.
Even USC, considered by many to be the “black sheep” of the Pac-10, has seen flashes of crazy obsession LSUoverUSC BCS champ go suck it condoms!
The announcement was unsurprising given the conference’s gradual movement towards a non-Pac-10 philosophy since its current alignment was finalized in 1991 after Arkansas and South Carolina joined the then ten team conference. That season saw the first deployment of the now famous Turn Our Backs to the Pacific, a formation that is today considered standard by most SEC schools. In 2004 Auburn used the formation with mixed results (13-0) during Tommy Tuberville’s final year as head coach after he was fired. One year before that the TOBttP was the talk of the college football world when Louisiana State amassed a 13-1 record in convincing the world USC did not share in the national championship, with the only loss coming at the hands of the world. The Tigers swept the SEC, however, as well as UCLA.
“That [2003 season] really was the beginning of it. We all saw that and said ‘wow’. It was like a light went on,” said Florida head coach Urban Meyer, whose Gators are the defending national champions.
Continued Meyer: “Coaches are copycats. It’s in our nature. You see something you like, you borrow it or you steal it. There’s no such thing as copyright in football. LSU really set the tone in terms of ignoring and hating and billboard erecting, and you could see the results of that philosophy on the internets. From there it just turned into an arms race.”
Meyer led Florida to its own 13-1 season in 2006, including a resounding 41-14 win over Ohio State that was made possible by a variation on the TOBttP. Since then the Gators have largely discontinued the use of the We Demand Playoffs Oh Wait We’re In formation, though the alignment will likely make a reappearance during the 2007 season.
Slive did not specifiy any penalties for non-compliant members, but it was clear that he was displeased by the progress of several universities and by Arkansas in particular.
“We’re not going to get into penalties or fines or sanctions at this point. We’ve set a window of five years and we feel that’s enough time for everyone to adjust and to change their policies. Again, the conference would like to stress that this is a gradual change. There are going to be some hiccups along the way, and some schools are obviously going to be behind others. Not everyone can be equal. That’s how competition works,” said Slive.
“But, yes, we will fine the hell out of Arkansas next year,” he added.
The Razorbacks return however many starters from a defense that limped to a cumulative 120-31 two game loss point spread against USC from 2005-06.
Behind closed doors, though, there is much talk about Arkansas’ potential. The Razorbacks have been the traditional black sheep of the SEC for the past fifteen years but many insiders have taken to calling the school a “sleeping giant”, noting that the Fayetteville-based program has all the ingredients necessary for a successful transition to non-Pac-10 recognition. Some are pointing to the relatively golden years under former head coach Frank Broyles, whose teams were known for both their single win against USC as well as a nation leading ability to not let their best players transfer to Southern Cal.
“There’s definitely some hope there [for Arkansas],” said one source. “They’ve got the tools. This league mandate is going to really help push them along. If the SEC hadn’t done this, who knows when Arkansas was gonna finally get on the ball?”
“Not literally,” the source added. “Getting on the ball and getting hats to the ball carrier and maintaining proper pursuit angles are all part of defense, which is pointless in communicating to the Pac-10. But you know what I, Houston Nutt, mean.”
Slive did not officially comment on the conference’s long rumored plans to require a minimum of forty runs from each team per game, but he did hint that some passing would be necessary in any future league wide rule change.
“Technically, an inside pitch is a pass. And those are essential to any solid football gameplan, at least the kind employed out here,” said Slive.