In his short time as the Athletics Director at Mississippi State, we've seen Scott Stricklin take to social media to gauge the temperature of the fanbases on issues varying from Davis Wade's atmosphere to the renovation/rebuilding of Dudy Noble Field. That trend of reaching out to the fanbase to hear their thoughts on a big decision continued this week as AD Stricklin asked MSU fans on Twitter what they thought about the new "power" conference scheduling requirement set forth by the SEC:
Questions for @HailState fans: 1) do you like the SEC’s football schedule format? & 2) which non-conf teams would u like to see MSU play?— Scott Stricklin (@stricklinMSU) April 30, 2014
There were several things to note in the responses to Scott, including:
- One question that was posed to Scott that I thought was a good one was this from @ajf102:
@stricklinMSU Was there an option for UA/UT & UGA/AU to keep their games and everyone else go to 2 rotating games? That seemed the best idea— Andrew Francis (@ajf102) April 30, 2014
I think this is an excellent idea, since I get the feeling that the two schools who are located in the state where the SEC home offices are the ones driving the bus on keeping permanent cross-divisional rivals. Outside of UT/UA and Aub/UGA, though, there aren't really any other "rivalries" that work. To me, this format seems like something that would work very well, but according to Scott...
@ajf102 Was brought up. Had very little, if any, support— Scott Stricklin (@stricklinMSU) April 30, 2014
Well, there you go. The two would talk back and forth a little more about the issue, and AD Stricklin seemed to indicate that the support was overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the permanent cross-divisional rivalries intact. Yay, Kentucky!
- As for fans response to the inquiry on non-conference games they would like to see, they varied from the expected "easiest game we can find" to "cool place to visit". Here are a few that I noticed:
@stricklinMSU Duke, NC State, Wake, UVA or Colorado for fan travel. Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Kansas or Minnesota could work as well...— Ben Bounds (@FollywoodBen) April 30, 2014
@stricklinMSU NC State, USF, Central Florida, North Carolina— M. Long (@bulldawg28) April 30, 2014
Hawaii MT @stricklinMSU: which non-conf teams would u like to see MSU play?— Whit Waide (@whitwaide) April 30, 2014
@stricklinMSU An even # of conf. games (and thus, H/A games) has always made sense. Would love to see us play UNC, Wisconsin, or Colorado.— J.A. Patton (@ja_patton) April 30, 2014
As you can see, the response was all over the play, although I have to say I saw the "play other land grants" idea several times, and thought that was a cool concept. I also saw the North Carolina schools pop up a good bit, as well as Big XII schools, destination schools (Hawaii), and the easiest, closest games we can find.
- I saw several responses referencing a game with Arizona since Stricklin's mentor and former MSU AD Greg Byrne is now with that school, but outside of his affiliation, I'm not a big fan of that one. Not really pumped about sitting in 100 degree, dry heat weather to watch us play essentially the Pac-12 version of ourselves.
- A few people mentioned a home and home with Ohio State, because of the Mullen vs. Meyer matchup that it would present. The first issue with that is that Ohio State would never travel to Starkville. That's just not going to happen. The second issue is that, given the fact that we play in the SEC (West), we are already going to have a tremendously difficult schedule each year. Adding a top-five non-conference game just makes that worse.
- As for my own personal feelings on the matter, I tend to fall in line with fans wanting games against teams located in desirable travel destinations. I would love to go to Wisconsin (BEERCHEESECHEESEBEER), and Colorado I think would be a fun trip, as well. Any Pac-12 game would be an experience I think I would enjoy. I disagree with those calling for Texas Tech and other Big XII schools; I just have no desire to travel to the midwest for anything. I would also love to go to North Carolina to play any of the ACC schools, and a trip to Big Ten country (against a non-Ohio State school) would also be fun. I also would love to see us play Boston College, if for no other reason than to have an excuse to go to Boston.
More important than the responses, it's nice again to see Scott involve fans in a decision like this. It makes a lot of sense for him as an AD, because you want to schedule a game where your fans are going to want to go, and against a team that most would like to see us play. He will never be able to please every fan on this, no matter which team or location he chooses to play home-and-home. That's just the general nature of his job, though; there are always going to be fans that will want to complain about something. No matter where we go, I look forward to seeing what comes from this discussion and decision. One way or the other, we should know something soon I think since the rule becomes active in the 2016 season.
Do you like the new SEC scheduling rules (rule explained here), and who would you like to see MSU play in the non-conference (must be ACC, Big XII, Big Ten, or Pac-12).