Rethinking SEC Football Schedules

The SEC has a rich history of football, but with the expansion of the SEC that created divisions, a lot of old rivalries, such as Auburn vs Tennessee, is now barely played. We can solve this by rethinking the football schedule by totally changing the format of the season.

First, we need to scrap divisions, the SEC West these days just overpower the East. But scrapping divisions won't solve the problem, as the schedule makers will have quite a headache. We can expand conference play to 9 games and add 3 non-conference games. Our current format is already very like that as most teams have one non-conference power opponent per season, and 3 other "cupcakes". Eliminate SEC vs FCS school showdowns and add another conference game to the schedule. Those games are usually easy wins for SEC teams and need to get off the schedule.

Next up, have teams set 4 permanent rivals they play each week. This way, there'd be 4 permanent games (compared to 7), and 5 rotating games (compared to 1). To give you an idea, here is a list of the 4 permanent rivals for each SEC team.

I changed a few up to make play fair.


Alabama- Auburn, Tennessee, LSU, Ole Miss

Arkansas- Missouri, LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi State

Auburn- Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Arkansas Florida- Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, Kentucky

Georgia- Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina

Kentucky- Florida, Missouri, Mississippi State, South Carolina

LSU- Texas A&M, LSU, Florida, Arkansas

Mississippi State- Ole Miss, Arkansas, Texas A&M, LSU

Missouri- Arkansas, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt

Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Vanderbilt

South Carolina- Georgia, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Kentucky

Tennessee- Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Vanderbilt

Texas A&M- LSU, South Carolina, Missouri, Mississippi State

Vanderbilt- Tennessee, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Missouri


As you can see, this system wouldn't be flawless, as Missouri obviously has an easier slate tham Tennessee does. The issue is that Missouri barely has an SEC history, but teams like Alabama, Florida, and many more do. I could probably instead of Kentucky, have Missouri play Georgia, and instead of Georgia, have Tennessee play Kentucky, but for now, I am going to stick with the rivalries.

Then after the 4 permanent matchups are set, there would be 5 rotating opponents. After you take off yourself and the 4 teams you play, 14-5=9 teams left to play. You'd play 5 the first year, then the 4 you didn't play the second , plus one opponent carrying over.


Then, permanent non-conference matchups wouldn't be played rivalry week. Rivalry week would be much, much more fun with only SEC matchups. This may cause an uproar, but how about having those 1st game in the season? That'd provide fun matchups, instead of Week 1 cupcakes. Here would be the new rivalry week matchups:


Alabama vs Auburn

Ole Miss vs Mississippi State

Texas A&M vs LSU

Florida vs Georgia

Arkansas vs Missouri

Tennessee vs Vanderbilt

Kentucky vs South Carolina


As you can see, we have great matchups. The only concern is TV times. How about rotating the SEC on CBS slot between Alabama vs Auburn and Florida vs Georgia instead of having it always be the Iron Bowl? That'd provide entertainment and fairness. The Egg Bowl would still be on Thursday, and Mizzou vs Arkansas would be on Friday.

A hypothetical TV schedule would look like this:


Thursday

Ole Miss vs Mississippi State

7:30 PM ET on ESPN


Friday

Arkansas vs Missouri

3:30 PM ET on CBS


Saturday

Tennessee vs Vanderbilt

12:00 PM ET on ESPN or ESPN2 or ESPNU or SEC Network or SEC Network Alternate


Kentucky vs South Carolina

12:00 PM ET on ESPN or ESPN2 or ESPNU or SEC Network or SEC Network Alternate


Alabama vs Auburn

3:30 PM ET on CBS


Texas A&M vs LSU

4:00 PM on ESPN


Florida vs Georgia

7:30 PM on ESPN


That would provide us a day full of SEC action.

Finally, the SEC would need to line up conference play. How about non-conference games for the first 3 games of the season and no more after that? That'd provide us with awesome games every week. No more random non-conference games in the middle of the season. No more of the SEC teams playing The Citadel while Big Ten teams are in the middle of major games. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what SEC football should look like.





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