We have all sat through enough cupcake games over the years with Florida football to know that nobody within Gator Nation is excited about this year’s matchup against Charlotte or McNeese State. And at first glance, it may make sense for Florida fans to want a nine-game SEC schedule rather than the eight that are played right now.
But given some of the unique circumstances surrounding the Florida Gators, it makes more sense for Florida to want an eight-game slate, even if the conference would benefit from nine.
Florida Football: More actually means less
The SEC as a whole is idiotic for wanting to stick with eight conference games instead of nine potentially. They are going to have Texas and Texas A&M in the same conference and not guarantee those two play each other every year.
And it does mean that Florida has its annual game against Tennesee in danger of not being played.
That’s idiotic too.
But Florida has two unique factors going for it that make an eight-game conference schedule make more sense than a nine-game schedule:
- The World’s Largest (gathering of individuals that happen to drink a particular type of beverage while having a) Party
- Florida State
See, while the annual game in Jacksonville has tradition and is a great time for those that actually make it to the game, the reality is that it eats up a guaranteed home every other year. For fans that are not season ticket holders and/or live south of Gainesville, making it to the game in Jacksonville is far more complicated than having the game on campus.
So this year, for example, the games against Charlotte and McNeese State are necessary because the Gators only have four other home games all season (Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, FSU).
Adding a ninth SEC game would turn one of those games into an SEC game, which does make for a more exciting matchup but could also leave Florida with just five home games in a given season.
And the argument for adding a ninth game is that it would bump up the strength of schedules for everyone involved. But because of the annual FSU game, Florida already has a guaranteed ninth game against a Power Five opponent.
Combined with how Florida football has started scheduling in recent years by starting the season against a marquee opponent rather than a cupcake, the Gators already play ten Power Five opponents out of twelve.
Teams like Alabama or Auburn would benefit from a ninth SEC game because their non-conference is cupcake-heavy.
But the Florida Gators are not in the same desperate need to gain that extra game, even if it does jeopardize long-standing rivalries.