Wake Forest and North Carolina announced today that they will play each other in 2019 and 2021 as non-conference opponents. Two conference foes, playing a non-conference game.
The response to this on Twitter was mostly less than complementary:
STAHP RT @ralphDrussoAP: Wake Forest and North Carolina, ACC rivals, have scheduled a NONconference home-and-home for 2019 and 2021— Brandon Larrabee (@TeamSpeedKills) January 26, 2015
The non-conference conference game is okay in baseball, where you have 50+ games. In football, it's dumb— Brandon Larrabee (@TeamSpeedKills) January 26, 2015
RT @McMurphyESPN: UNC, Wake Forest schedule home/home "non-conference" series; 2019 at Wake, 2021 at UNC— Luke Zimmermann (@lukezim) January 26, 2015
*eyeroll* RT @McMurphyESPN: UNC, Wake Forest schedule home/home "non-conference" series; 2019 at Wake, 2021 at UNC— Bill Connelly (@SBN_BillC) January 26, 2015
The purpose of non-conference games should be: (a) play someone different; (b) getting a tune-up week. Hate this N.C. State-Wake thing— Brandon Larrabee (@TeamSpeedKills) January 26, 2015
both can go to hell RT @McMurphyESPN: UNC, Wake Forest schedule home/home "non-conference" series; 2019 at Wake, 2021 at UNC— SPENCER HALL (@edsbs) January 26, 2015
However, there's at least one person who loves the idea.
Dear Auburn and Florida: see? http://t.co/0H0bNHDbjS— Jerry Hinnen (@JerryHinnen) January 26, 2015
Screw the designations, and play games your fanbase cares about.— Jerry Hinnen (@JerryHinnen) January 26, 2015
I'll believe UNC-Wake Forest noncon is a bad idea when UNC and Wake Forest fans say it's a bad idea.— Jerry Hinnen (@JerryHinnen) January 26, 2015
That's Jerry Hinnen of CBS Sports and formerly War Blog Eagle, and The Joe Cribbs Car Wash before that. Jerry proposed this actual idea once a few years back, though I can't find the article he wrote on the subject right this second. You can tell from his tweets that he is passionate about the idea, though.
Jerry's reasoning was that this would be a way for two traditional rivals - Auburn and Florida - to play each other more often than the currently scheduled once every six seasons. Auburn vs Florida used to be an every year affair until the 2003 season. Auburn last played the Gators in 2011. They will not play the Gators again until 2019 in Gainesville, and not in Auburn until 2024. Auburn's current crop of freshmen (if they graduate on time) will graduate in the spring of 2019. This will be a few months before Auburn next plays Florida.
The SEC expansion issue has really made it to where the SEC East and SEC West are two separate conferences. Nowhere is this more evident than in how it has split old rivalries like Auburn vs Florida and Auburn vs Tennessee to once every 5-6 years.
Ask yourself this question... who would you rather see Auburn play, San Jose State or Florida? Which game do you think would be a bigger draw?
I know that with the playoff now, people are focused on making sure they have winnable games so that they can get in, but which game do you think a victory in would benefit Auburn more? Which game do the fans want to see more?
The younger generation of Auburn fans won't really understand this as much as the older ones will. It's similar - though not as drastic - to the Georgia Tech situation. There are positives and negatives to the conference realignment that has occurred over the past decade, but the biggest negative has been the loss of games that used to mean so much.
Auburn vs Florida and Auburn vs Tennessee have a rich history that goes back through the history of the SEC. They're still in the same conference. Yet the realignment issue has affected them to the point that Auburn no longer plays them with any regularity, and that's a shame.
Of course, the SEC could also do the other smart thing and swap Auburn and Missouri and figure out a way Alabama can keep both Tennessee and Auburn on the schedule.
So what do you think? Is this idea dumb, or would you like to see it happen so that Auburn and Florida can play more often?