SEC schedule: More than just the permanent rivals

Seth Emerson at The Athletic addressed that in his SEC mailbag today. Permanent rivalries are fun to talk about, but if we go to nine games, it’s only a third of the SEC schedule. And if they somehow go to the 1-7-7, permanent rivalries are even less important.

They haven’t decided whether the rotation will happen every year or every other year. For example, assuming Bama isn’t one of our permanent rivals, would we play them home and home in '24 and '25, or play them in RRS in 24 and BDS in 26? Not determined yet.

Also, Seth says they’re trying to make the schedules fair. Recall that last week Nick Saban complained that Bama is apparently getting LSU, Auburn and Tennessee as its PRs. Therefore, they probably would not load them up with Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas and Florida all in the same season. But teams perceived to have an easier group of permanent opponents might have a little tougher group of rotating opponents in a given year. It’s the SEC, folks. Nobody is going to have an easy schedule, and there are probably going to be 16 schools complaining about their schedule, which probably means they got it about right.

The SEC is using a 10-year metric to try to balance the three permanent opponents, but 10-year metrics can’t predict the future. Programs get better, get worse or fluctuate (we went from 8 wins to 2 wins and then back to 9 within the last decade). They could revisit the schedule, both permanent and rotating, every four years, but they aren’t committing (yet) to doing that.

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Lot’s moving parts to this with egos and $ adding to the drama but this is a good start if it happens. I agree with Saban when he said teams should play everyone in conference so the players get the whole experience. Georgia not playing TAM but one time is just poor both for athletes and the league itself. If SEC can get this resolved to members agreement so much the better for all. Then they can deal with the big elephant (sorry Bama not you this time) in the room and fix the so far unfixable referee issues. Time for Auburn fumbles to go the way of the dinosaurs.

This is a point I’ve been trying to make. People fixate on the 3 permanent opponents, and I get that. But in the SEC the pool of whoever is left that you DON’T play every year is going to be formidable, no matter who your 3 regular dance partners are.

However, if Team “A” was to have (no one will, but hypothetically) Bama, Georgia and LSU as their permanent 3, then their rotation of “other” teams year in and year out would be easier than someone (Team “B”) who had Vandy, MSU and S. Carolina as their “regulars”…because of who is NOT on the rotation list for team “A”, and who IS on the rotation for team “B”.

In the end, it balances out pretty well…not even factoring in that in given years, some “haves” will not, while other “have nots” will…