A two-hour, prime-time special for a football schedule reveal may seem a bit goofy, but what the SEC is doing is marketing genius. The Big 12 should be taking notes.
The SEC is rolling out next season’s football schedule today at 6 p.m..
As with most things SEC football, it won’t be understated.
It’s being called a reveal, done during a prime-time, two-hour special on ESPN. Two hours! Then again, if you’ve watched ESPN’s announcement of the College Football Playoff field, you know how long it takes to unveil four teams. If allowed, ESPN might take two days to reveal the schedules of all 16 SEC teams.
Of course, the SEC is no doubt on board with the reveal. It wants the hype. The pub. The production.
Such hoopla for a schedule reveal may seem a bit goofy, but really, it’s marketing genius. The college football world will be talking about SEC football (as if it isn’t doing that a lot already) at a bit of a dead time. Post-conference title games. Post-Heisman presentation. Pre-bowl games.
The Big 12 should be taking notes.
The league hasn’t exactly used its release of the football schedule to stoke excitement about the Big 12. Last year, the schedule release was a source of consternation, frustration even, as its reveal was rumored several times in November, December and January, then never materialized. Finally, on the last day of January, it was released.
There was more relief than fanfare.
The Big 12 has a chance to do better this time around, and with hype man Brett Yormark at the Big 12 helm, you know he could come up with something to make a big splash. But count me skeptical that the release of the Big 12’s football schedule will be made into a big deal.
At least not this year.
Earlier this month in Yormark’s state-of-the-league press conference before the Big 12 title game, I asked him when he anticipated the Big 12 might release the football schedule.
“I defer to my subject-matter experts on when the schedule is coming out,” he said.
Then Yormark asked Scott Draper, the Big 12’s vice president for football, to come up on stage.
“What do you think, buddy?” Yormark asked.
“Target around the first of the year,” Draper said, “but we’ll take however long we need to get it right.”
While I can appreciate the Big 12 wanting to get the schedule right, I assume the fine folks at the SEC have a similar goal. And last I checked, the SEC has quite a few strong personalities and mighty programs to take into account when doing its schedule.
But the SEC got its act together by mid-December.
No reason to think the Big 12 shouldn’t be able to do the same.
Maybe the more recent additions of Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah are a factor this year for the league. They officially joined the Big 12 four months ago, which compounds the scheduling process.
The SEC is expanding next year, too, of course, but it has known OU and Texas would be part of the 2024 schedule for 10 months. No doubt that has helped the SEC’s process and planning.
But if I was the Big 12, I’d be looking for a similar opportunity to make a big hoop-di-do of the schedule as soon as possible.
Here’s a thought: after the national championship game on Jan. 8, college football fans are always looking for a fix. Pick a day in the week or two after that, and make a production of the schedule release. Analyze the games. Talk to coaches and players; this year, hearing from folks from the four new schools would’ve been grand. Put all of it on TV, or if you want to be hipper, younger, cooler, do an exclusive social media stream or some such hip, young, cool thing.
Perhaps such a thing is too big a leap for the Big 12 this year, but next year, it would be fun.
Then again, after the way the Big 12’s schedule release went last year, simply getting the games announced before the last week of January this time around would be fun, too.