And from all accounts the SEC is following suit. The Pac-12 wants to cut league games from 9 to 8 in both the P12 and B1G to leave more room for NC scheduling between the two leagues; the B1G is discussing dropping divisions as part of that.
Reports indicate the SEC will either go to 4-team pods or the permanent/rotating combination used in basketball (3 perms, rotate the rest) with a 9-game schedule once EOE/OU join. The B1G, with 14 teams, could go 3 and rotate within an 8-game schedule and still play everyone else twice in four years.
I think the P12/BT want this independent of the playoff expansion, and the SEC move would coincide with the move to 16 teams. There would still be a championship game, as the Big 12 is doing without divisions.
Interesting that the SEC may be going to nine league games while the Big Ten and Pac 12 might drop down to eight. I know some other leagues (or at least their fans) have criticized the SEC for not playing nine.
Nine league games seems like it’s something the SEC needs with the addition of Texas and OU. It would allow teams to play everyone else home-and-home within a four year period if we go with pod/permanent rivals.
I like that plan because getting rid of divisions balances out the conference schedules more for everybody. No longer would half the teams benefit from being in the “weaker” division, whichever one it might be. And it would allow athletes to face all the teams in their conference if they have a four-year career.
You just summed up the reasons to drop divisions. Everybody plays Bama, everybody plays Vandy.
As a practical matter, it wouldn’t make any difference whether you do pods or permanent rivals. In essence, every team would have its own pod, even if the other three teams in that “pod” had a different pod.
Andy Staples at The Athletic did his own version of permanent rivals for the SEC. He gave us Kentucky, Misery and Texass. We could do much, much worse (Bama got Auburn, Moo U and Tennessee; Georgia got Auburn, Florida and the Poultry). But to make up for getting Bama and Jawja (who they want to play anyway), Auburn got Vandy.
He gave OU Misery, OM and Texass. Texass got us, OU and A&M, pretty much what you would expect.
There is one significant difference, SF, which is why I’ve been touting the “podless” solution since the OU/Texas to the SEC move was announced last year.
Yes - in both solutions, teams would play 9 conference games, and would play the same 3 teams home-and-away in alternate years, and play the remaining 12 teams every other year - meaning home and away within a 4 year cycle for ALL opponents.
But the big difference is that going “podless” provides more scheduling freedom to allow conference members to maintain long-standing rivalries, without restricting their “podmates” and forcing them to play the teams within the pod every year. That is to say, Alabama can play Auburn, Tennessee and Ole Miss (for example) every season, but Auburn can play Bama, Georgia and LSU instead of being forced to play Tennessee and Ole Miss just because Bama wants to (again, in this example). That is a major difference, and why I think this is the way the SEC will go.
You’re correct that permanent rivals allow Bama to continue playing Auburn and Tennessee, also allow Auburn to play Georgia, but Bama doesn’t have to play Georgia every year. Etc. Since there are other teams with similar rivalries, I kinda expect that the SEC will go with permanent rivals rather than pods or keeping divisions.
The nine SEC games always concerns me because it means you are splitting five and four as far as home and away. It flips back and forth, obviously. But there is no equality there in determining champions. I’d stay at 8 or go to 10. No one is saying 10, but it would be an option and really give you that feeling of getting everyone to play each other more often. Unlikely to happen.
I guess the reason I ask is that I would not likely associate KY with us as a rival in football…but it carries an entirely different significance in basketball. And I know that is just one guy’s best guess (of who our 3 would be)…but it is a bit intriguing.
Not everyone can get their “rivals”. If you picked our “rivals” it would probably be TAM, Texas and LSU, but then we’d be at a disadvantage to someone who got Vandy, SoCar and Kentucky. Kinda like when we joined the SEC and got SoCar as a “rival” because we were the two new kids on the block, even though we’d never played them.
It is seems strange to think who Missouri would pick as rivals. They would always say Kansas. But that’s not the option. I guess they pick Arkansas, but not sure. They have a lot of history with Oklahoma. Maybe it’s the Sooners.
Or - we could rotate conference opponents that we play at JerryWorld (you get bonus points for saying it correctly…instead of “Jerry’s World”; whoever heard of “Disney’s World”??) so that we play a different SEC opponent there every season, each one only once every so many years. We could decide to include ALL SEC teams in that rotation, or just some of them (the ones what wanted to participate - and there would be some).
In a 9 game season, an annual neutral game solves the 4/5 or 5/4 problem. Who says that we, A&M, Georgia and Florida are “the only ones with that option”? There’s nothing keeping the other 10 (soon, 12) teams from “pairing up” or setting up a rotation for the 9th game each season at various neutral sites.
Why not incorporate as many NFL sites as possible? Nashville, Miami, New Orleans, Atlanta, Charlotte, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Houston and Kansas City all have NFL venues that could be involved. I think the fan bases would love attending games in those venues, and I’m sure it would be exciting for the players. Our neutral games wouldn’t have to be limited to Arlington…we could have some there, and some at other NFL venues as well.
For example, when Georgia came up on the rotation, perhaps we play them one time in Arlington or Nashville…and the next time (several years later), in Atlanta or Jacksonville. One time we play S. Carolina in Charlotte or Atlanta, the next time on rotation for a neutral game (again, several years later) they play closer to us - say Kansas City or Arlington. This would spice the annual Arlington game - which has become a little stale, to some - into a mini mid-season “Bowl” game for our fan base, both those driving to the game from Arkansas and the local Razorback fans in that neutral location.