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SEC football schedule triggers perception versus case of reality



ATHENS – The SEC had to know when it announced that it would resume the league table that there would be some upset fan bases and conspiracy theories.

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In retrospect, perhaps the SEC should have come up with a faster cross-training plan.

Think of it as one more lesson as doctrine seeks to build a bridge as it crosses the river, according to a Greg Sankey metaphor in the early stages of crisis management.

Each team would pull the next two teams up from opposing divisions in 2021

and 2022 – already predetermined – and be done with it. In fact, the league could have just announced the opponents at the same time as it revealed that it would go to an SEC schedule of 10 games.

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Instead, the decision was dismissed and we all waited. And waited. And waited.

“What can talk for so long?” many asked and wondered aloud on Twitter and Facebook. Finger pointing and speculation about who could “keep up” the process grew on social media channels.

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All eyes were focused on a potential Alabama and Florida game if the league were to use the accelerated cross-division schedule.

The Tide and Gators are still scheduled to meet in Gainesville in 2021, but Slate 2020 showed no such showdown when it was revealed in the SEC Network on Friday night.

There is no evidence that the SEC tried to protect the tide and the Gators with its scheduling model, there was no public lobbying or lobbying when the athletic directors held their weekly speech.

But when Alabama pulled Kentucky and Missouri to join Alabama and Tennessee, the screams began.

Vols fans were, most notably, excited, after pulling Texas A&M and Auburn to join the two West Division opponents that had already been planned, Alabama and Arkansas.

According to a CBSports ranking model, Arkansas has the toughest schedule in the league after additions, followed by Tennessee.

Florida, it is worth noting, has the simplest schedule per site.

But in the social media world, perception quickly surpasses reality.

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