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The Big 12-SEC Challenge should be a lot better

Some great points here from one of my readers…



Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

A reader named Ryan Schwenk emailed me this terrific idea earlier today with the Big 12-SEC basketball challenge coming up later this week…

I was looking through the Big 12/SEC Challenge hoops schedule, and I have to say I’m pretty disappointed. Here’s the slate:

Texas Tech at Alabama
Auburn at Iowa State
Vanderbilt at Texas
West Virginia at Missouri
TCU at Mississippi State
Ole Miss at Kansas State
South Carolina at Oklahoma State
Kentucky vs. Baylor (in Arlington)
Kansas at Florida
Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M (in Houston)

Not playing: Tennessee, LSU, Arkansas, Georgia

Here’s how I would have scheduled it with comments:

Florida at Kansas — Best matchup from original schedule, but I’d let the marquee program in the Big 12 get the home game, thank you very much.

Oklahoma State at Kentucky — Lots of storylines here: experienced OSU vs. young UK, Ford returning to Kentucky, Harrison twins vs. Smart/Forte rematch from their HS days, you could even bring in the Sutton/UK history…

South Carolina at Kansas State — How was this not automatic?

Baylor at Vanderbilt — Couple of private schools, Baylor’s weird uniforms on Vanderbilt’s weird court.

Ole Miss at Iowa State — Something about the Hilton faithful and The Mayor hosting Marshall Henderson just feels right.

Arkansas at Oklahoma — Nice regional matchup, if you had to have a half-filled neutral site game, you could play this in Tulsa

Texas at LSU — Another nice regional matchup, Johnny Jones just coached at North Texas, and you could play this one in Houston.

West Virginia at Tennessee — Battle of the coonskin caps! Whose mountains are the best? Bring your own moonshine!

Texas Tech at Alabama and Mississippi State at TCU — Both same as scheduled, just evened out conference home/away games.

Not playing: Texas A&M, Missouri, Georgia, Auburn — That’s right, not the Aggies or Mizzou, because they’re dead to me and the Big 12 as far as I’m concerned.

I know that at this point TV has the most to do with any decent team playing another one as a true road game, but wouldn’t it be great if every team had to leave two dates open on their schedule each year for a few ‘bracket buster’ games, and some NCAA commissioner type could schedule a home and away game for every team against a non-conference opponent that isn’t a directional school.

Would sure make bracket discussions more interesting.

And on another note – I mean, if you’re not going to look to schedule a true, tough road game with the current OSU team, Travis Ford, who do you do it with?

If I’m a college player, I would love a chance to play in some of the legendary locations that aren’t in my conference (Kentucky, Duke, UNC, Palestra, New Mexico, UCLA, Michigan St., Indiana, etc.) in front of crazy crowds, as opposed to these sanitized, half-empty, AAU-like neutral site games.

Am I crazy?

Doesn’t that toughen you up for conference play and the tournament?

Why are we paying these coaches lots of money for them to be risk-averse and hide behind the “we play a tough conference schedule, so the risk of a OOC road loss isn’t worth it”?

I understand it in football, but frankly, if you’re expecting to be a top 25 team (4-6 seed), one tough road loss isn’t going to drastically effect your season/seeding.

And are basketball receipts really effecting every school’s bottom lines that much?

I’d like to see the math on playing Grand Valley State at home over two years vs. playing a home and home with an Arizona or Louisville.

But, sadly, we need CBS or ESPN to step in and try and make it happen.

You’re not getting Marcus Smart doing backflips in Puerto Rico or Kissimmee.

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