Image Courtesy: NWAOnline.com
Following the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Florida a few weeks ago, two scheduling formats for the future of the conference in football have emerged with Oklahoma and Texas entering the conference in 2025. The east and west divisions will be gotten rid of. Per many sources, there are two options:
The first format that is proposed includes an eight-game conference schedule. An eight-game conference schedule has been played in the SEC since Missouri and Texas A&M entered the league in 2012. The second format that is proposed include a nine-game conference schedule.
The argument against a nine-game conference schedule would be already playing one of if not the hardest football schedule in the country every season in the best conference in America according to most of the college football media. The SEC football coaches seem to be 50-50 on this. But, another argument against this is having non-conference games previously scheduled cancelled because of the new extra game.
The argument for a nine-game conference schedule is the 3-6 model. It will be discussed later in this post.
1.The first format includes each SEC team playing one “fixed” opponent or in better terms, their biggest rival every year and rotating seven other opponents every year. The SEC offices would of course choose the one fixed opponent every season. Something tells me this format won’t get voted through because many annual rivalries would be gone. Here’s what opponent I think every team would face every season in this format (with the SEC choosing these things).
Alabama – Auburn
Arkansas – Missouri
Auburn – Alabama
Florida – Georgia
Georgia – Florida
Kentucky – South Carolina
LSU – Texas A&M
Mississippi State – Ole Miss
Oklahoma – Texas
Ole Miss – Mississippi State
South Carolina – Kentucky
Tennessee – Vanderbilt
Texas – Oklahoma
Texas A&M – LSU
Vanderbilt – Tennessee
2.The second format includes every SEC squad playing their three biggest rivals, as chosen by the SEC, and rotate the other six opponents every year. Each SEC basketball team plays their three biggest rivals every year twice, so this is a realistic option for the conference. But, the nine-game conference schedule would be difficult with a potential expanded College Football Playoff coming. Not many SEC teams would be able to play a Group of 5 team or an FCS team with most of their schedules taken up with nonconference Power 5 opponents and their nine game SEC schedules. Overall, the second format is the better option, as historic rivalries would not be destroyed. Here’s a look of who each team could face every season if this format was used:
(I was unsure about these but I tried my best)
Alabama – Auburn, LSU, Tennessee
Arkansas – Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M
Auburn – Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss
Florida – Georgia, LSU, Tennessee
Georgia – Auburn, Florida, South Carolina
Kentucky – Mississippi State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt
LSU – Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M
Mississippi State – Kentucky, Oklahoma, Ole Miss
Oklahoma – Mississippi State, South Carolina, Texas
Ole Miss – Auburn, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt
South Carolina – Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma
Tennessee – Alabama, Florida, Vanderbilt
Texas – Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M
Texas A&M – Arkansas, LSU, Texas
Vanderbilt – Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee
I thought about designing a new SEC men’s basketball scheduling model but it was decided already at the SEC spring meetings. In basketball, the SEC decided continue its eighteen-game conference schedule. Instead of three permanent opponents, the SEC has decided to have their teams play two permanent opponents twice a season instead, home and away. And, they will play the twelve remaining opponents either home and away. Like usual, the SEC men’s basketball tournament will include all sixteen teams competing in a single-elimination format. The top four seeds will get a double bye like usual as well.
I cannot find any news on a new SEC baseball scheduling model approved. But, if it is like the future softball schedule, which has been confirmed, with Oklahoma and Texas in the league it will look like this: “(SEC) teams will play 24 conference games: a three-game series against eight rotating opponents. The SEC softball tournament will include all 16 teams competing in a single-elimination format” (WholeHogSports.com). I would suppose the SEC would also go to a single elimination conference tournament for baseball to help with the safety of players.
Scheduling formats have also been confirmed in women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, and soccer.