How Do You Reshape a Conference? SEC Realignment Style
The SEC is about to get a makeover. The conference has approved the additions of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas leaving fans to wonder how the two former Big 12 giants will fit into the SEC.
Will the SEC reshape its conference alignment? If so, what will that look like? Could the Crimson Tide be headed into a pod system with its bitter rivals? There are many solutions that have been bantered about but only one will satisfy the masses.
The concerns with a 16-team league start and end with schools not playing each other often enough. This is already a problem in the SEC with a 14-team league, for example the Crimson Tide is traveling to Gainesville, FL., for the first time in 10 years in 2021.
In order to play each and every team in such a large conference and in order to present a fair and balanced schedule the SEC needs to move to a 9-game conference schedule. The league played a 10-game schedule due to COVID-19 in 2020 and everyone survived, there is no reason to revert back to the original 8-game schedule and leave television revenue on the table.
The conference should next eliminate divisions. Allow the SEC to be one giant 16-team conference as it stands and let the teams with the top two conference records play in the SEC Championship.
By eliminating divisions, the schedule makers can restructure their format. Each team should have three locked-in schools that it plays every year, for our Alabama Crimson Tide they could preserve their rivalry with Tennessee, Auburn and LSU. The remaining six conference games will be filled by the remaining 12 schools on a home-and-home basis.
By structuring the schedule in this fashion an athlete that stays with its SEC football program for four years will have played in every SEC stadium while maintaining a strong connection to their respective rivals.
Alabama : Auburn - LSU - Tennessee
Arkansas : Missouri - Oklahoma - Texas
Auburn : Alabama - Georgia - Mississippi State
Florida : Georgia - LSU - South Carolina
Georgia : Auburn - Florida - South Carolina
Kentucky : South Carolina - Tennessee - Vanderbilt
LSU : Alabama - Florida - Ole Miss
Mississippi State : Auburn - Ole Miss - Texas A&M
Missouri : Arkansas - Oklahoma - Texas &M
Oklahoma : Arkansas - Missouri -Texas
Ole Miss : LSU - Mississippi State - Vanderbilt
South Carolina : Florida - Georgia - Kentucky
Tennessee : Alabama- Kentucky - Vanderbilt
Texas : Arkansas - Oklahoma - Texas A&M
Texas A&M : Mississippi State - Missouri -Texas
Vanderbilt : Kentucky - Ole Miss - Tennessee
The conference would maintain its reputation as the toughest football conference in America and a strengthen already close relationships between one another.
The elimination of one of the cupcake games would benefit the television partners and the fans, and although traditional rivalries like Alabama and Mississippi State or Florida and Tennessee aren't played every year they will still occur at a high rate, twice every four years.
Could the conference adopt this model? Anything is possible in the ever-changing landscape of college football. Do you like this system or have something different in mind? Leave us a comment on our Facebook, Twitter or App Chat.
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