What Schedules Could Look Like If SEC Moves to 9 Conference Games

There’s bad news coming for the likes of New Mexico State, Charleston Southern, UL-Monroe, Tennessee State, South Alabama, and Prairie View A&M. Their SEC payday is almost over.

I didn’t choose these schools randomly. All of them had a game against an SEC opponent in Week 12 on November 20, 2021. Those six schools received checks from $500K-$1.3 million to lose by an average of 40 points per game.

My co-host on “OutKick 360” Jonathan Hutton has a good solution for what should happen to these games and you should give it a look.  

CUPCAKES AND CASH: HOW THE SEC CAN SCHEDULE BOTH

The future of sport is inevitable when that future involves more money for those in power. And the SEC is the undisputed power of College Football.

History shows they won’t throw money out the window to give themselves one more win while propping up smaller programs for the “good of the game.” The rubber is getting set to hit the road which means UMASS won’t continue to hit the road for College Station, TX in November. And yes, this is an actual game set to take place on Nov. 19th of this year.

Operating under the assumption that it’s just a matter of time before the SEC moves to a nine-game conference schedule and my belief that a 6-3 model featuring three constant opponents for all 16 SEC teams (including Texas and Oklahoma) and six rotating opponents that gives every team the opportunity to play every other team in the conference over a two-year period, I came up with my three constant opponents for every SEC team.

I am keeping in mind in-state, prior divisional, and prior cross-division rivalries while understanding that they can’t keep every single game that matters to every single fanbase while also maintaining some modicum of fairness. I also fully admit there’s no truly fair system for every team. And the same goes for the current model that pits one constant opponent from the opposite division every year.

So with those caveats, here are my three constant opponents for every SEC team.  

Depending on your fandom, you probably have very different reactions to this plan. Let’s dive in with historical analysis of all of these series and what it means in terms of keeping big time rivalries while also being as fair to each team’s history as possible. I’m analyzing schedules in order of all-time conference win %, so Alabama is first while Kentucky is last. Oklahoma and Texas have played more SEC games than most would realize. The results of this order may surprise some. Here it goes.  

TEAM: Alabama 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 1st 

SEC WIN %: 68.58  

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Tennessee, Auburn, Texas 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 58.88 

VERDICT: Tough but fair, given Alabama’s history 


TEAM: Oklahoma 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 2nd 

SEC WIN %: 65.87 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Texas, Missouri, Texas A&M  

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 54.08 

VERDICT: Perfect mix of old Big 8/Big 12 rivalries plus the OU/Texas game is an annual affair.  


TEAM: Texas 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 3rd 

SEC WIN %: 65.41 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Alabama 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 60.43 

VERDICT: Who isn’t watching these games every year?  


TEAM: Georgia 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 4th 

SEC WIN %: 60.08 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Florida, South Carolina, Auburn 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 48.81 

VERDICT: World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party and the longest running rivalry in the South are played annually.  


TEAM: Tennessee 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 5th 

SEC WIN %: 56.90 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Alabama, Vanderbilt, Kentucky 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 43.32 

VERDICT: Some will argue this is too soft on Tennessee, but since Tennessee has mostly been average to below for 20 years and Kentucky has been out performing their historically league-worst SEC win %, that stance should soften.  


TEAM: LSU 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 6th 

SEC WIN %: 56.56 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Arkansas, Florida, Miss. State 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 44.62 

VERDICT: Tiger fans have to be happy with this scenario.  


TEAM: Florida 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 7th 

SEC WIN %: 56.20% 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 52.71 

VERDICT: Gators’ winning % vs opponents is very close with added bonus of keeping two big time rivals.  


TEAM: Auburn 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 8th 

SEC WIN %: 54.53 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Vanderbilt, Alabama, Georgia 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 53.37 

VERDICT: As close to perfection as you will see on this list.  


TEAM: Missouri 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 9th 

SEC WIN %: 50 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 48.41 

VERDICT: I’m not overly excited about any of these games, but most are a fair compromise. Missouri win % benefits from a short time in SEC and a great start in SEC under Gary Pinkel.  


TEAM: Texas A&M 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 10th 

SEC WIN %: 46.84% 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 53.97 

VERDICT: Aggies will take any combination of constant opponents, as long as one of them is burnt orange.  


TEAM: Arkansas 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 11th 

SEC WIN %: 43.52  

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: LSU, Ole Miss, Missouri 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 49.11 

VERDICT: We’ve entered the portion of our ranking where there’s no avoiding playing up in win %.  


TEAM: Ole Miss 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 12th 

SEC WIN %: 40.73 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Miss. State, Arkansas, Florida 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 44.62 

VERDICT: Give me Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night or give me nothing at all. 


TEAM: South Carolina 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 13th 

SEC WIN %: 35.92 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Missouri, Georgia, Vanderbilt 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 47.18 

VERDICT: South Carolina’s biggest rival is in the ACC.  


TEAM: Miss. State 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 14th 

SEC WIN %: 34.14 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Ole Miss, Kentucky, LSU 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 42.65 

VERDICT: Mississippi State/Kentucky may be the most underrated of the current cross-divisional constant opponent format.  


TEAM: Vanderbilt 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 15th 

SEC WIN %: 30.75 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Auburn, Tennessee, South Carolina 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 49.05 

VERDICT: This gives Vandy fans the opportunity to do the two things they love the most. Cheer like crazy for their team to upset the big, ugly orange brother to the east and spend every other week cheering against them.  


TEAM: Kentucky 

SEC WIN % RANKING: 16th 

SEC WIN %: 30.63 

CONSTANT OPPONENTS: Texas A&M, Miss. State, Tennessee 

OPPONENTS COMBINED SEC WIN %: 45.96 

VERDICT: Most years Kentucky fans would be happy to win one of these three games. Given their current program, they will be angry to not win two out of the three with regularity.  


What do you think? Email me at Chad.Withrow@OutKick.com  


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Written by Chad Withrow

Chad Withrow hosts OutKick 360 and has covered Nashville sports, statewide, and SEC college issues and headlines since 2004.

5 Comments

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  1. No way is Texas getting Oklahoma, A&M, and Alabama every season! Swap Arkansas for Alabama. And no way Alabama and LSU aren’t playing every season. No reason for Alabama and Tennessee to continue playing year after year.

    • You’re right on the money!

      I have a gut feeling that a certain multi-billionaire sports figure in North Texas won’t be too thrilled about losing that annual A&M/Arkansas rivalry game played in Arlington every year… And whether they like it or not, you MUST have A&M/TexU every season. That annual showdown would make Meatchicken vs. THE Overrated State University look like a pillow fight.

      Here’s how I’d set up the other three “pods” (and I don’t care that neither Sankey nor the Four Letter Nitwits in Bristol who REALLY run the SEC are big on “pods”) – and, yes, they’re based mainly on geography:

      Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt: the four (relatively) north/east-ern members of the SEC makes for a nice pod, doesn’t it?

      Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn: As long as Nick Satan is running the show in Tuscaloosa, this might be the college football equivalent of “The Group of Death”.

      Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU, Missouri: Well, we have to put UMo somewhere, and I’m not included to break up the Arky/A&M rivalry (see above point) to appease the spare Tigers of Columbia.

  2. Hate to break it to you Big Orange homers, but you don’t get both Vandy and UK…one of them is getting replaced with FLA or UGA…no one will be happy with whatever is decided, feeling will be hurt, but let Vandy, Mizzou and SC get a little bit of breathing room and rotate among each other. UT needs to step up in weight class, not run.

  3. If highly over-caffeinated partisan sports fans share anything in common it is …… Terminal Paranoia that the powers-that-be are Out-To-Get-Us … due to either jealousy or “just because”.
    .
    The litmus test for whatever formula the SEC finally decides on will be …. Does it piss off Every Fan Base. … LOL!
    .

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