My guess is that no matter what the Southeastern Conference decides on future schedules, if Texas and Oklahoma come on board in 2024 or 2025 to form a 16-team league, some teams — maybe more than one — won’t be happy. Conventional wisdom is that the SEC will announce a proposed future schedule during next week’s SEC spring meeting in Destin, Fla.
I think a nine-game schedule for conference games is very likely, almost inevitable, and that means half the league will alternately have four home games and the other half five home games. In other words, it evens out over two seasons.
Also commendable is that the nine-game conference schedule means a cupcake goodbye from each team.
In my opinion, the 3-6-6 plan is best — three permanent opponents and six of the remaining 12 rotate through, so every league team has played every other SEC team home and away in four years. By flipping the six every year, in just two seasons, every team has played every other team in just two years.
Now the SEC is more of a conference than two distant divisions.
With no more divisions, the SEC championship game will bring together the top two teams (based on a number of criteria that are easily determined – record, head-to-head, national rank by the college football playoff selection committee, and likely a few others ).
When I first thought about the 3-6-6 plan, I thought this lineup was fair and preserved natural rivalries.
ALABAMA—Auburn, LSU, Tennessee
ARKANSAS – Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M
AUBURN – Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi
FLORIDA—Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina
GEORGIA – Auburn, Florida, South Carolina
KENTUCKY—Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
LSU – Alabama, Ole Miss, Texas A&M
OLE MISS – LSU, Mississippi, Oklahoma
MISSISSIPPI STATE—Auburn, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt
MISSOURI—Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina
OKLAHOMA—Ole Miss, Missouri, Texas
SOUTH CAROLINA—Florida, Georgia, Missouri
TENNESSEE-Alabama, Kentucky, Vanderbilt
TEXAS – Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M
TEXAS A&M – Arkansas, LSU, Texas
VANDERBILT – Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee
Since everyone thinks of their favorite team first, the general consensus among Alabama supporters here was that the state of Mississippi was a better choice than LSU as a enduring Crimson Tide opponent.
I had no problem with those who felt Mississippi state should be Alabama’s third rival more than LSU (Tennessee and Auburn were automatic in my opinion).
But when you do that, you have to take something away from the state of Mississippi and add something to LSU. And actually more rearrangement than that.
For example: Mississippi state drops Auburn to get Alabama. Join Auburn in Bama’s invalid spot on LSU’s permanent opponent? That would make Auburn’s three long-time favorites Alabama, Georgia and LSU. Some here would giggle at the prospect, but it wouldn’t be fair.
Suppose you decide to use Florida and LSU as constant opponents (as was the case with the current division composition). Now LSU has Florida, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M.
So do we solve it by moving Auburn’s third permanent card to Florida with Alabama and Georgia? Again not fair to Auburn.
Now we’re looking for another opponent for Auburn and Florida has to lose either Kentucky or South Carolina (Gators have to hold Georgia).
Florida drops Kentucky, adds LSU; Auburn picks up Kentucky.
Now we have…
ALABAMA – Auburn, Tennessee, Mississippi
ARKANSAS – Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M (no change)
AUBURN—Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky
FLORIDA—Georgia, LSU, South Carolina
GEORGIA – Auburn, Fla., South Carolina (no change)
KENTUCKY—Auburn, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
LSU – Florida, Ole Miss, Texas A&M
OLE MISS – LSU, Mississippi, Oklahoma (no change)
MISSISSIPPI STATE—Alabama, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt
MISSOURI – Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina (no change)
OKLAHOMA – Ole Miss, Missouri, Texas (no change)
SOUTH CAROLINA – Florida, Georgia, Missouri (no change)
TENNESSEE – Alabama, Kentucky, Vanderbilt (no change)
TEXAS – Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M (no change)
TEXAS A&M – Arkansas, LSU, Texas (no change)
VANDERBILT – Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee (no change)
Is it better than before if Alabama gets Mississippi state instead of LSU and other changes?
Any other suggested changes, or can I escalate these to SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey?