SEC's 2010 slate may get 'tweak' to aid Tide

There might be a “tweak” or two to next season’s SEC football schedule to pacify Alabama, but no major overhaul is planned, according to a league spokesman.
Six of the Crimson Tide’s SEC opponents in 2010 will be coming off bye weeks. Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore voiced his concern of that scheduling oddity to the SEC last week during a meeting of the league’s athletics directors.
SEC Associate Commissioner Charles Bloom said Monday that Moore and the other ADs were assured that the league “would take a look at the 2010 schedule to see if there was any relief that could be granted. I couldn’t put that into whether it would be doubtful or probable. We just have to take a look at it, and that’s what the ADs wanted us to do.”
Bloom said that if any changes to the 2010 schedule were made, they would be minor, such as moving an open date.
“If there is going to be anything done, it would be a tweak. Because most every school has their schedule done,” he said.
Bloom said the league office would take an “in-depth look” at the issue in January. The SEC does not have full control over teams’ open dates.
The SEC is currently working on its schedule template for the 2012-2020 seasons, and the open date issue for those seasons can be at least partly addressed now.
“Some of the things we can do is look at consecutive conference games in consecutive weeks to see if there’s anything we can look at there,” Bloom said. “We’re strictly in exploratory mode as it deals with 2012 and beyond. This issue didn’t come to us until probably in the last month.”
According to the Tuscaloosa News, Alabama will have played more than three times as many teams coming off open dates than any other SEC school over a four-year span ending in 2010.
So just how did so many teams wind up with open dates prior to playing Alabama? A logical answer is that teams like to be well-rested before taking on such a formidable foe – the Tide is playing for the BCS national title next month.
Mississippi State had a week off before playing Alabama this past season, and it has a bye week prior to playing Alabama for each of the next two seasons. That was not by design, according to AD Greg Byrne.
“It’s just really a matter of your non-conference opponents and how their schedule works with what our schedule allows,” Byrne said. “That’s what drives it, much more so than trying to get a bye before a certain game.”
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or brad.locke@djournal.com.

Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal