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SEC Realignment: Conference expansion is coming. Now we know when. The SEC will welcome Oklahoma and Texas in 2024.

The conference will become a 16-team league. The Southeastern Conference is already the best sports conference. This makes it even stronger.

With the Big Ten's move to bring in USC and UCLA, they are the easy pick for second. There is no other conference close to these two. The Power Five will be the Top Two - at least in football terms.

For college football, the bluebloods will be exclusively in these two leagues. Who are the big draws in the others? They'll have some quality programs that bring football audiences, but the dropoff is substantial.

For the SEC, the decision of how to set schedules is still to be determined. The issue is not so much with basketball, baseball, softball or anything else. The scheduling topic has been exclusive to football.

Right now, each team plays eight conference games every season. That will be the easiest change. It will become nine.

The next move is the model moving forward. Division play has been in place since the advent of the conference championship game in 1992. That was an expansion year too.

There are staunch proponents of keeping division play and shifting teams around. The most popular move is to shift Alabama and Auburn to the SEC East. That would preserve the Iron Bowl and the Tennessee and Georgia rivalries for each.

Let's dump the pod talk. It was a fun idea, but I don't see it happening.

I'd drop divisions in favor of the much discussed 3-6-6 model. There will be no perfect system, but this one keeps a good rotation of opponents.

The problem with the continuation of divisional play is the lack of continuity with SEC opponents. There will be long stretches without playing several teams.

It's hard to pick who the three permanent rivals will be for all 16 schools. Some programs have a handful of traditional foes. Some have only a few.

I went down the list of games we've got to keep on an annual basis. You can count them on two hands.

These are the in-state rivalries, the border wars, the longest played traditional matchups. Alabama/Auburn, Oklahoma/Texas, Florida/Georgia and Ole Miss/Mississippi State are all on that short list.

There are many that aren't but new rivalries will be developed. We've seen that already with the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina from 1992 and Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012.

We also have to keep a bit of parity with the picks of the every-year opponents. That may mean that Vanderbilt or Kentucky might fit better georgraphically but not bring the top-billing that Georgia and Alabama offer.

Not every team can get the big boys every year (not that it's such a good thing - they're usually tougher to beat), but with a 3-6-6 rotation at least those teams are on the slate every two years. This will keep schedules more even too.

It was fun putting the pen to paper and tinkering around with the matchups. It's not a fine science, but nothing is.

It won't be long before we get an idea of the future scheduling for real. I'm looking forward to it.

Here's my own version of the 3-6-6 model. It's one I would revamp over time just to keep things fresh.

Team Permanent 1 Permanent 2 Permanent 3
Alabama Auburn Tennessee Mississippi State
Arkansas Texas A&M LSU Ole Miss
Auburn Alabama Georgia Mississippi State
Florida Georgia South Carolina Tennessee
Georgia Florida Auburn South Carolina
Kentucky Missouri Vanderbilt Oklahoma
LSU Arkansas Ole Miss Texas A&M
Mississippi State Ole Miss Alabama Auburn
Missouri Kentucky Oklahoma Texas
Oklahoma Texas Missouri Kentucky
Ole Miss Mississippi State LSU Arkansas
South Carolina Florida Georgia Vanderbilt
Tennessee Alabama Vanderbilt Florida
Texas Oklahoma Texas A&M Missouri
Texas A&M Texas Arkansas LSU
Vanderbilt Tennessee South Carolina Kentucky