This weekend the Big 12 / SEC have scheduled their basketball challenge between each other. The fine college athletics site theStudentSection says the Big 12/SEC challenge freshens the season, and offers the possibility of change. Should the ACC adopt this scheduling practice? Maybe they should move the ACC/Big 10 challenge or take the double header ACC/Atlantic 10 challange to the mid-season?
Let’s look at it from the Big 12/SEC perspective. The SEC definitely has a problem gaining national attention outside of Kentucky. The football frenzied SEC also has National Signing Day around the corner. It’s basketball teams are usually mired in lackluster regular season games, that few nationally are paying attention to. The challenge allows them a chance to get some national registration against a quality basketball conference. Lose and nothing was lost, and at least somebody was watching. Win as Florida did over West Virginia, and you get a major resume win. There were a couple of big time matchups that were fun – Oklahoma\LSU and Kansas\Kentucky were great games. I certainly will give the challenge credit there.
Overall though, the Big 12 is probably helping the SEC more with that than the other way around. Here’s the problem now… I have major question marks about West Virginia, and with Iowa State losing to Texas A&M, I now wonder just how deep the Big 12 really is. In other words the challenge is good for the SEC, but maybe not so much for the Big 12.
I don’t know if it’s in the ACC’s best interest to schedule such a series. In a conference with 7-10 NCAA Tournament caliber teams already throwing in a difficult non-conference game doesn’t help you position for the ACC tournament. For example Florida State beating Purdue, is not as important as their home win over Clemson Saturday.
The ACC’s national profile is already in good shape. They already play several high-profile conference games during the course of the year. The conference can stand on it’s own, and there are plenty of OOC challenges for the ACC in November and December.
The challenge works for the SEC in the middle of the conference season, but I don’t think this is something the ACC needs to do. I’m not sure it helps the Big 12 either. What I would consider is having the regular season end a week earlier, and having a weekend OOC challenge the week before the ACC Tournament. That way ACC tournament seedings are set, and you play a quality non-conference game the week before. I don’t think it would be much different from the traditional ACC/SEC traditional year ending rivalry games in football, but not sure how much of a scheduling issue that would be with another conference.
That would be the problem there.