SEC meetings: Schedules, recruiting, transfers, and overthinking at its finest

USA TODAY Sports

SEC higher-ups are meeting in Destin this week. Let the overthinking commence.

It's Overthinking Season in college football, and with the College Football Playoff on the horizon, the sport's higher-ups have taken overthinking to an entirely new level. That has come across most clearly in a scheduling debate that I have long since lost interest in. It also seems to include basically every other topic ever discussed, brought up anew. Yesterday alone covered a lot of ground.

SB Nation: Bret Bielema predicts SEC to get 'minimum' of 2 teams in 4-team Playoff

Minimum? Yeah, uh, maximum.

SB Nation: Scheduling an annual college football challenge for all 5 power conferences

SBN's Kevin Trahan went through a fun exercise in the link above, breaking out power conference opponents like NFL scheduling for non-conference. How exactly would you feel about this schedule for 2014?

at Wisconsin
Texas
at Notre Dame
Stanford
at South Carolina
Georgia
at Florida
Vanderbilt
Kentucky
at Texas A&M
at Tennessee
Arkansas

AL.com: Mike Slive: SEC won't forbid FCS opponents, but conference games matter more

He went back to the podium to say this:

"Just one final comment about strength of schedule. ... The strength of schedule is based on 12 games, which means two-thirds of your strength of schedule is your conference games. ... I just wanted to make sure that when we think about strength of schedule we think about the strength of the conference as a significant part of strength of schedule."

In other words, selection committee members, don't focus on Alabama playing Western Carolina when the Crimson Tide faces LSU and Auburn. Don't be distracted by Auburn meeting Samford when the Tigers line up against South Carolina and Alabama.

It was Slive at his gently persuasive best, making a point without poking anyone in the eye, standing up for his schools without stepping on anyone's toes.

AL.com: SEC coaches 'unanimous' on early signing period in December, says LSU's Les Miles

The SEC's 14 football coaches were "unanimous" in their support of implementing a supplemental signing period for football on the Monday following Thanksgiving, LSU coach Les Miles said, though it appears some coaches have concerns as the proposal faces the possibility of hitting a road block later this week in Destin.

The proposal will be forwarded to the conference's athletic directors and presidents for further approval later this week. The Conference Commissioners Association is still in the early stages of considering proposals for earlier dates -- ranging from summer to December -- from other conferences, and it plans to meet in June. [...]

The early-signing period would allow prospects to sign with an SEC school only if they have decided to not take an official visit elsewhere.

If a prospect takes an official visit during the fall, they will be forced to wait to sign with a school in February.

Brilliant, picture-perfect overthinking.

CBS Sports: SEC considers ending ban on taking graduate student transfers

The SEC is considering ending its graduate-student transfer ban. Three proposals from South Carolina are being discussed at the SEC spring meetings to put the SEC more in line with the NCAA rule that lets graduate students with eligibility remaining transfer to another school.

The NCAA adopted the rule in 2006 to allow graduates to transfer for their final year of eligibility as long as their new school has a graduate program the old school doesn't offer. The rule was seen as a carrot to athletes who graduate with eligibility left, but it has also been criticized as free agency in college sports.

The SEC applied the NCAA rule until 2011, when it opted out for one major reason: Jeremiah Masoli.

The graduate transfer rule can be abused like anything else, I'm sure, but I love it, and I've long thought it was dumb that the SEC would choose that rule to rail against.

And while we're talking Big College Football Issues...

ESPN.com: College Football Playoff system will redefine how bowls are selected

Year 1 (after 2014 regular season)

SEMIFINALS

Sugar Bowl: 1. Florida State versus 4. Michigan State

Rose Bowl: 2. Auburn versus 3. Alabama

The No. 1 seed would not be placed at a competitive disadvantage from a crowd perspective and will be placed in the semifinal bowl closest to its campus, if possible. So FSU goes to New Orleans instead of Pasadena.

NON-PLAYOFF NEW YEAR'S SIX BOWLS

Orange: 12. Clemson (ACC) versus 7. Ohio State (Big Ten/SEC/ND)

Cotton, Fiesta and Peach: 5. Stanford, 6. Baylor, 8. Missouri, 9. South Carolina, 10. Oregon, 15. UCF (Group of 5).

The selection committee would have to pair the at-large teams in the Cotton, Fiesta and Peach and create the best and most compelling matchups. The highest-ranked available teams make the cut along with the highest-rated champion from the Group of 5 conferences (AAC, C-USA, MAC, MWC and Sun Belt). My guess:

Fiesta: Stanford versus Missouri

Cotton: Baylor versus Oregon

Peach: South Carolina versus UCF

I certainly don't hate any of this. The most interesting part is, as Senator Blutarsky points out, the fact that it solidifies the importance of broadcast money over attendance money.

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