After yet again being scheduled to play a schedule rated in the fifth toughest in the country by college football guru Phil Steele, Eric Hyman and Steve Spurrier have had enough:
I don't think it's fair that we're slated to play the fourth-toughest schedule in the nation, especially when teams like the Alabama Crimson Tide, LSU Tigers, and Mississippi Rebels are slated to play schedules rated lower than 50. Alabama's is 110th! I believe I speak for myself, Coach Spurrier, and all of Gamecock Nation in saying that we deserve better treatment than that from our conference, which in theory serves all of its members.
In hopes of alleviating the Gamecocks' challenges, Hyman plans to ask the conference--starting this incoming season--to replace one of its rotating SEC West games with a permanent series with the Mississippi St. Bulldogs. Hyman believes the concession is fair primarily because the Gamecocks' in-state rival, the Clemson Tigers, are frequently a major challenge. The Gamecocks also like to schedule another ACC team, although the Southern Miss. Eagles will replace that slot this season after the North Carolina Tarheels backed out at the last minute. By contrast, teams like Ole Miss and Arkansas regularly fill their OOC slate with a bunch of FCS and Sun Belt teams.
When asked if South Carolina's SOS is so high because it doesn't get to play itself, Hyman responded, "No comment."
Continue reading after the jump.OK, lame attempt at satire aside, I can see where the Tide fans are coming from in their crusade against the scheduling office and anyone that dares to criticize their agenda. I believe they have justification. I'm not sure I really think changing the schedules will make a big difference for anybody, but if 'Bama believes playing teams coming off a bye puts them at a disadvantage, then there's plenty of evidence that the balance in terms of teams playing teams coming off byes is way off to 'Bama's detriment.
I think it's remembering, though, that on some level just about any team with a tough schedule--particularly teams like the Gamecocks and, yes, the Tide, that make an effort to play tough OOC competition--can legitimately complain. It was always my impression, though, that many of us in the SEC pride ourselves on the tough schedules we play, believing that we warrant special consideration when it comes time to select the bowl bids. Where has that attitude gone, Tide fans? It's something we South Carolina fans wear like a badge of honor. The Tide will likely be in the running for another BCS bowl this year, maybe a repeat national title. Don't you want to be able to crow about your brutal schedule in the weeks before you play Ohio State in the title game? I have to admit I find it surprising that Tide Nation has embraced the petulant victim role on this one.