If you've been paying the slightest bit of attention to SEC football recently, you are intimately aware of Alabama's incessant whining about unfair their schedule is. Fortunately, Year2 over at TSK brought some actual facts to the debate, and I wholeheartedly recommend his post. Seriously, go read his take instead of this drivel.
SPOILER ALERT! Essentially, Year2 finds almost no advantage for a team coming off a bye week. So this is really just a tempest in a teacup, or just a way for Alabama fans to pretend they are persecuted.
I think there are two very real problems for the SEC, though. One, Alabama's central complaint is correct. Sure, they are whining, but that doesn't mean there isn't substance to the whine. LSU fans whined about the officiating in the Alabama game this year. Just because there was substance to our complaints didn't mean we weren't whining. And, frankly, no one wants to hear it. It isn't fair that Alabama has to play so many teams coming off of bye weeks. They are absolutely, 100% correct on this point. The SEC should move to make sure this sort of scheduling SNAFU doesn't happen in the future.
But here's the rub. Life isn't fair. We don't want to hear it. Alabama complaining that the SEC is conspiring against them is just one of those complaints that isn't going to garner much sympathy, even if you're right.
Which brings us to issue number two. The SEC, like most big conferences, labors under the image that it shows favoritism to certain schools. This is not unique to the SEC. ACC schools say it about the Carolina schools, the Big Ten is the Big Two and the Little Nine, and the Pac-10 favors the LA schools. The SEC has long since been accused of favoring Alabama, true or not. And changing the schedule on the eve of the season to help out Alabama absolutely feeds this perception.
Alabama fans have argued that this isn't favoritism, it is simply righting a wrong. But I'd counter by asking them this: if it was Mississippi State playing so many teams coming off of a bye week, do you think the SEC would consider, for even one second, changing the schedule just months before the season to make sure the Bulldogs didn't have to suffer under such a disadvantage
If you said yes, you are either delusional or lying. This is absolutely the SEC showing favoritism to Alabama. The proper response to this scheduling is to say "wow, that sucks" and make sure it never happens again. To even consider changing the schedules this late in the game just feeds the SEC's perception issue.
Besides, you want to complain about unfair schedules? LSU's permanent "rivalry game" among Eastern teams is Florida. Florida has been the most consistently great team in the East since conference expansion, and LSU gets to play them every year, despite no traditional ties to the Gators. I'll make Bama a trade: we'll play six teams coming off bye weeks and in exchange they can play the Gators every year.
Life's not fair. Suck it up. The last thing any college football fan wants to hear is an Alabama fan complaining that things aren't fair.