When standing on the brink of disaster, we must weigh our options carefully. One false step could send everything into a collapse. Remaining there with our toes hanging over the edge, however, could bring that collapse even quicker.
So what do we do? Inaction is not an option, and yet action could be just as bad.
The law of unintended consequences remains undefeated, but if we don’t do something soon, we are going to lose the SEC West.
Science has shown that the SEC West is deteriorating at a rate never before seen. Auburn is a shadow of its former self. LSU hasn’t had a good reign since 2011. Arkansas longs for the calmer climates under Bobby Petrino. And currently, there is a chunk of the SEC West the size of Mississippi about to break apart entirely!
Man-made SEC-West-cooling is real. The good news, however, is that we can reverse it.
It is time to bring back oversigning. And bring it back hard.
Oversigning has never really gone away, but the restrictions put in by the SEC and NCAA back in 2011 have dramatically altered the way in which the SEC West operated. Starting with the 2012 class, a 25-man scholarship limit was put in place. It didn’t eliminate oversigning, but it did limit how much oversigning could actually be done.
Looking back, we were fools to think we had achieved some kind of success.
If only we had listened to the SEC coaches when they tried to warn us what a catastrophe this would be. We were so full of ourselves and our self-righteousness. We told ourselves we were helping the kids who were getting cut, but we had no idea that we could be cutting off our Hog noses to spite our Rebel faces.
We were so preoccupied with whether or not we could stop oversigning, we didn’t stop to think if we should.
And now all hell has broken loose.
From 2007 to 2012, an SEC West team stood at the top of the final AP poll every year, save for 2008 when Tim Tebow and Florida won a national title.
From 2013 to the present day, however, only once was an SEC West team at the top of the final poll, and that was Alabama in 2015.
Nick Saban’s program was the Bama-banged poster boy for why oversigning needed to be stopped, but clearly Alabama has been just fine with this curtailed version of the rule.
Everyone else, however, is suffering.
From 2009 to 2012, five SEC West teams — LSU, Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas A&M — finished in the Top 10 of the AP poll.
From 2013 to 2016, however, only Alabama, Auburn, and Ole Miss have finished in the Top 10. And we now know what Ole Miss had to do to get there.
How much longer are we going to sit here watching schools like Ole Miss lower themselves to scratching and clawing and doing whatever they can to sign enough players to field a competitive team? When you take away opportunity, we should not be surprised when some programs turn to less-pleasing tactics to put a team together. This is not fair to them and we have to give them a way to improve their standing.
The SEC West used to be the standard bearer of college football, and so what if it took them 30 more players over a four-year period to actually get there. The point is that they got there.
Without oversigning, look at what they have become. They are virtually indistinguishable from the SEC East. It’s horrible!
And just think about how bad it will be when Nick Saban retires or takes the Dallas Cowboys job and the SEC West no longer has to try to keep up with Alabama.
You know how hoarders talk about one day they just decided to give up and stop caring? If we don’t re-institute oversigning immediately, when the time comes to move the SEC offices, workers are just going to find stacks of newspapers and dirty dishes and 348 cats living in filth.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can stand on this brink and say, “Enough!”
We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. We will not go quietly into the night. The SEC West will not vanish without a fight! It is going to live on! It is going to survive!
But only if we bring back oversigning.
And bring it back by, like, yesterday.
It is not fair to the kids who dream of comming to a program only to find out they do not have scholarship the day after the season’s first game; recruiting must have limits. Those limits start with integrity of the NCAA ensuring a level playing field for recruitment. Maybe the kids can start oversigning too. Like a pledge to USC, MSU, LSU and The Ohio State University…..
Tony…be careful what you ask for
Cold-rolled brutal, Gerd. Merciless. GO BUCKS!
Tony, is it right to plug the life support machine in?
And unplug the keg-a-rator? Oh no. Not yet.
Brilliant work, Tony.
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