Now that Texas A&M is in the fold and it doesn’t look like there is going to be another team added, at least in the short term. The good folks at the SEC have been diligently working to map out a football schedule for the next season. All the while, the even better folks at Mr SEC have laid out this little tutorial describing the immense chore that this process is. It’s a pretty involved article, so let me hit the highlights for you.
– As a disclaimer, at this point all of this is simply conjecture; however, there are only a few ways this process can be done so we have to assume that it’ll be close to what eventually ends up happening.
– With 13 teams and A&M most likely joining the West, the schedules of UK and the teams in the East won’t change from how they’re currently done.
– In the West though, instead of having each team play the six other teams in the division and then two cross divisional opponents, three teams will avoid playing one team in the West each year so each East team can fill their eight game conference slate and get three cross divisional opponents.
– Normally, this would make conference championship games invalid because the NCAA defines the guidelines for a championship game as involving each team playing a round robin style format, which would be impossible with the West teams who don’t play each season.
– However, the MAC has played with the format in the past and the NCAA gave them a pass, which the SEC would surely receive as well.
– The problem with totally copying the MAC format, though, is the devaluing of cross divisional conference games. In the MAC, the only games that are recognized in determining each division’s representative in the championship game are those games against teams in their division. Imagine a LSU-Florida game carrying the same weight as a non-conference match up. That wouldn’t fly in the SEC.
– All current East-West rivalries would most likely stay intact: Alabama-Tennessee, Arkansas-South Carolina, Auburn-Georgia, Florida-LSU, Kentucky-Mississippi State, Ole Miss-Vanderbilt.
For Kentucky, this scheduling system should be beneficial. The less games that LSU and Alabama have to play against the East, the more likely it’ll be that we can avoid them. Already, Mr. SEC has predicted the LSU-Kentucky game as one coming off the schedule next season. As excited as everyone currently is to have Texas A&M they’re destined to be the Jan Brady in SEC expansion, because it shouldn’t be long before the SEC is adding a new team to get excited about.