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Expanding and Realigning SEC Divisions with Texas, Oklahoma

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The college football world was turned upside down on Wednesday as news broke that Texas and Oklahoma were planning to abandon the Big 12 in favor of the SEC sometime in the coming years. At first, the goal was to verify the bombshell news, but now that several people have dug in, it’s clear that this isn’t just rumor or hearsay.

That doesn’t mean it’s a done deal yet, but that’s the direction we are currently heading.

So what is the next step? Well, the time is now to start figuring out how a 16-team super conference could look. On Wednesday night, OutKick founder Clay Travis did a fantastic job breaking down a lot of important questions surrounding the move.

Here’s a point Clay brought up that really interests me:

If the SEC went to 16 teams the conference would abandon two divisions and make four new divisions of four teams each. You can imagine the battles over these divisions.

But a 16-team SEC would actually make scheduling easier, in many ways. If SEC teams stuck to eight conference games, the teams could play the three teams in their division every year and two yearly rivals on an annual basis.

That got me thinking. What would a four-team, four-division SEC look like? As Clay points out, the realignment would be interesting as schools would undoubtedly have varying inputs. But I put together a combination that I believe would work — or at least I want it to work.

SEC West

Teams

Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M

Permanent Cross-Over Opponents

  • Arkansas – LSU, Missouri
  • Oklahoma – Florida, Vanderbilt
  • Texas – Missouri, South Carolina
  • Texas A&M – Ole Miss, Miss State

Why It Makes Sense

The West division was fairly easy to sort out. With this grouping, Texas and Oklahoma still likely need to win the Red River Rivalry to win the division, and the Longhorns and Aggies get to play each other annually once again.

Arkansas has a history with the other three schools dating back to the Southwest Conference, but they would still get to keep their rivalry game with LSU. Plus, Texas would get to reignite an old game against Missouri with one of its cross-over games, while A&M would get to keep three of its old SEC West opponents: Arkansas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.


SEC East

Teams

Florida, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina

Permanent Cross-Over Opponents

  • Florida – Tennessee, Oklahoma
  • Georgia – Auburn, Kentucky
  • LSU – Arkansas, Alabama
  • South Carolina – Auburn, Texas

Why It Makes Sense

This would be a tough division, which might upset the powers that be, but it makes too much sense geographically. Most importantly, the Florida-Georgia game, formerly known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, would remain one of the most meaningful in the conference.

The Dawgs would also get to keep its most important cross-over rivalry game with Auburn, while LSU would continue to see Arkansas and Alabama on an annual basis. As a second cross-over game, I gave Florida one of the newbies, Oklahoma. They played for a national title in 2009 and most recently faced off in 2020.

Geographically, LSU in the East doesn’t make sense, but they had to go somewhere. At least Louisiana is a coastline state like Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.


SEC North

Teams

Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

Permanent Cross-Over Opponents

  • Kentucky – Georgia, Miss State
  • Missouri – Texas, Arkansas
  • Tennessee – Alabama, Florida
  • Vanderbilt – Ole Miss, Oklahoma

Why It Makes Sense

Tennessee and Kentucky would absolutely love this alignment, especially if Clay’s suggestion to give all four division winners an automatic bid to the Playoff came to fruition. There are no heavy-hitters in the North, but it made the most geographical sense.

I did try to even out schedule difficulty with the cross-over games, however. Kentucky would get one of the league’s top players in Georgia, while Tennessee would have the tough task of keeping their rivalries going with Alabama and Florida. And once again, the Missouri-Texas connection from the Big 12 also makes sense.

Losing the annual Georgia-Tennessee game was a tough pill to swallow with this realignment though.


SEC South

Teams

Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State

Permanent Cross-Over Opponents

  • Alabama – LSU, Tennessee
  • Auburn – Georgia, South Carolina
  • Ole Miss – Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
  • Miss State – Kentucky, Texas A&M

Why It Makes Sense

Any realignment has to keep Alabama happy now that Oklahoma and Texas are in the mix. Putting Alabama in a division with Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State once again makes sense from a location standpoint, and it also keeps the annual Iron Bowl alive.

In fact, it would make the Iron Bowl that much more important with only four teams vying for a division title.

The Crimson Tide would also get to keep its other two main rivalries against LSU and Tennessee intact. Auburn gets to keep Georgia, while the other two get the benefit of maintaining four of their former West opponents from the previous alignment. Mississippi State would also get to rekindle its old rivalry against Kentucky.


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Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.

Written by Clint Lamb

Clint Lamb is a College Football Writer for OutKick. Managing Editor for Roll Tide Wire. Sports radio host for The Bullpen on 730/103.9 The UMP. Co-host for The 'Bama Beat podcast through The Tuscaloosa News and TideSports.com.

7 Comments

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  1. No no no no!

    Teams need to start playing every team in their conference!!

    They want to add 2 schools. Fine, jettison a few of the slackers.

    Let’s be honest Football is the only thing that matters. Baseball does not and truthfully basketball matters very little in terms of overall revenue. If the SEC wants to do this the only way it makes real financial sense is to kick out some slacker teams. Start with Vandy period. They need gone anyway. That leaves the Mississippi schools, Arkansas, Missouri(probably the best option), or UK take your pick.

    Conference expansion has already ruined in some ways college football and rivalry games. Nebraska belongs in a conference with OU period. The ACC has been a disaster with so many of the NE teams they added. West Virginia does not belong in a Texas conference. Maryland in the Big10 is a fucking joke. Rutgers should be in some shithole conference with Temple.

    If Texas and OU were to leave the Big12 that’s going to further the have and have not division. Will the new Big12 become like the old Big East after Miami and VPI left before it eventually explodes and you have a bunch of nothings with fanbases but the conference becomes the new AAC?

    • I agree with you whole heartedly. I think this ship has sailed though. We will end up with 4 huge 16 team conferences in the near future. Teams like WVU, Iowa St., Oklahoma St., etc better start figuring out who wants them now.

  2. Jonathan sounds like an idiot that didn’t go to a power 5 school. Yes, money and football are the two big catalysts but tradition plays a big part as well. There will not be major realignment but the teams that have been vagabonds over the years will be on the move. To insinuate that the SEC jettison UK or the Mississippi schools shows Jonathan’s utter stupidity.

  3. I notice it’s never explained how any of this “Why is make sense” always avoids South Carolina.

    In a division with Georgia, Florida, LSU and with a common west opponent Texas?

    The only sense for South Carolina is to “take it” and pick up a big check.

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