The Future of SEC Scheduling: The Southeastern Conference is preparing for expansion again. Oklahoma and Texas will join the league in a few years.
The SEC has already released new models for scheduling going forward in some of the sports besides football. Football is the one that gets most people's attention.
Over the past few weeks, the suggestions for how it needs to be done have been eveywhere. Basically, it comes down to a few things.
Will the schedule remain at eight conference games or move to nine? The latter is expected. And if teams begin playing nine SEC games per season, will the conference adopt a 3-6 model or 1-8?
The 3-6 model would mean that every season, each team would play three consistent SEC opponents with the other six on a rotation. The 1-8 means just one consistent every-year foe and every other on a rotation.
The guys in Birmingham will have to decide which traditional rivalries need to be preserved.
Once you start putting the pencil to paper, you realize that this is no easy task. Why? There are some teams that have more big rivalries than others.
While teams like Auburn and Alabama have at least two big rivals in the SEC, teams like Missouri and newcomer Oklahoma do not.
It's fairly easy to select the games you want to keep on an annual basis. The reality is, the ones you just can't do without aren't that numerous.
We must keep games like Auburn/Alabama, Florida/Georgia and Ole Miss/Mississippi State. Oklahoma/Texas becomes one of those too.
After that there is a second tier of keepers. Auburn/Georgia and Alabama/Tennessee are on that line.
Those are some of the biggest traditionally speaking, but Alabama has played Mississippi State more than anybody. Is it as big as Auburn or Tennessee just because of the number of meetings?
Many would argue that Alabama's biggest game right now is LSU. Will it be that way in ten years? It's a fluid situation.
Originally, I was in the camp of preserving some of these matchups. With 16 teams, it's going to be tough.
Plus, there is the element of consistency in the level of competition. We know the SEC is the best football conference in America, but the disparity from top to bottom is vast. Everybody wants Vanderbilt on their schedule.
I'm leaning towards the 1-8, so we get more rotation for all teams. This will be a 16-team league. The sacrifice of not having annual meetings with some teams means more frequent meetings with all the rest.
With that, we will recreate new rivalries.